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Hope and sacrifice

There is a theme running through the crises that face America in our latest summer of discontent. What links energy policy to deficits, debt to education reform and war, is the need for national sacrifice.

Sacrifice is a grim political term, evoking the hopelessly distant and purportedly halcyon days of Franklin D. Roosevelt calling a nation to common purpose.

In this essay, Jon Meacham considers how past presidents have inspired national sacrifice — and what’s needed to revive hope for the present.