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Listen: Why 2016 May Be The Most Important Presidential Election Since 1860

Abraham Lincoln

This election has become one of the most divisive elections in recent memory. It has put immense strain on both parties, prompting a lack of unity and hatred for the nominees that is unprecedented. The last time there was an election even close to as hostile as this was in 1860, said Harvard Business School historian Nancy Koehn, who joined Boston Public Radio Tuesday to talk about the surprising similarities and importance of these two elections.  

The issues behind both elections may not be the same, but the principles behind them are, says Koehn. “There is a fundamental issue at stake and that is, do we as voters, do we as citizens, believe in the fundamental purpose, promise, and principles of America,” she said. “Is the promise of America going to be kept.”

Two months after Fort Sumter, Lincoln asked if the country could hold together in the face of really powerful disagreements, our must we fall apart? I don’t think that question is such a strange one for right now,” said Koehn. “I think again, it has some real resonance.”

Nancy Koehn is a historian at the Harvard Business School. You can listen to her interview with Boston Public Radio Above.


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