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As for Trist the refractory diplomat, his political career was finished, though after the next war President Grant tossed him the sinecure of postmaster of Alexandria, Virginia.
Freed of the shadow of John J. Hardin, Illinois congressman Lincoln strode into deityhood. He alone of Greenberg's subjects prospered postwar.
Clay, Lincoln, Trist, as well as the even more forthright dissenters not discussed in this fine book—Ohio Whig Sen. Thomas Corwin, poet James Russell Lowell—reproach our timid age. As Greenberg says, they teach us that "patriotism, in early 1848, required something other than mindless consent to an endless war."
When will we ever relearn?