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Wars have been stages for the president to lead the country. In the Civil War, Lincoln had to convince the public that the Civil War was in the nation's interest even as the effort went badly and he only just managed to do that with some timely battlefield victories. In recent wars, including Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq, victory has been harder to define and the public's expectation has shifted where the wars were harder to argue as being part of the nation's interest. Conflicts have largely had negative effects on presidential powers in the last few decades and more risk than benefit, damaging public opinion and limiting the larger domestic and international agendas presidents have attempted to press.