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Win the War and Win the White House

Throughout American history, presidential candidates have stood or stumbled by their stance on political issues. Despite the powers of personality, popularity, and publicity, a presidential candidate who wants to win on election day must win on the issues as well.

Surrender of Lord Cornwallis

Surrender of Lord Cornwallis Trumbull, John, 1756-1843, artist. Prints and Photographs Division Library of Congress. Reproduction #: LC-D415-50235

In 1781, General Cornwallis surrendered British troops to George Washington, commander-in-chief of the Revolutionary army. As Cornwallis handed over his sword, he handed Washington the status of America's number one war hero. That status easily translated into Washington's presidency at a time when Americans could celebrate the victory of their stance on issues they had been willing to die for.