The drama of the assassination has enlarged the personalities of both men, so it is as if each of them could have saved us from the troubled history that followed their deaths. Had Lincoln lived, many historians believe, his generous spirit would have labored in peace, as mightily as it had in war, to heal the nation's wounds, and perhaps much of America's tortured post-Civil War history would have been different. After Lincoln's death, a profound despair seized the nation, along with a deep bitterness that lasted for years, but America endured and the process of nation-building went on. Had John F. Kennedy lived, Robert Kennedy once told a reporter, the 1960s would have been different because he would have listened more sensitively to the young. It is somehow reassuring that even in the desperate hours after each assassination, a shaken nation, gripped with near-panic, gathered its will, looked to its Constitution, and reasserted political order.