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Lincoln and Leadership

Military, Political, and Religious Decision Making

Randall M. Miller

Publication Year: 2012

Lincoln and Leadership offers fresh perspectives on the 16th president-making novel contributions to the scholarship of one of the more studied figures of American history. The book explores Lincoln's leadership through essays focused, respectively, on Lincoln as commander-in-chief, deft political operator, and powerful theologian. Taken together, the essays suggest the interplay of military, political, and religious factors informing Lincoln's thought and action and guiding the dynamics of his leadership. The contributors, all respected scholars of the Civil War era, focus on several critical moments in Lincoln's presidency to understand the ways Lincoln understood and dealt with such issues and concerns as emancipation, military strategy, relations with his generals, the use of black troops, party politics and his own re-election, the morality of the war, the place of America in God's design, and the meaning and obligations of sustaining the Union. Overall, they argue that Lincoln was simultaneously consistent regarding his commitments to freedom, democratic government, and Union but flexible, and sometimes contradictory, in the means to preserve and extend them. They further point to the ways that Lincoln's decision making defined the presidency and recast understandings of American "exceptionalism." They emphasize that the "real" Lincoln was an unabashed party man and shrewd politician, a self-taught commander-in-chief, and a deeply religious man who was self-confident in his ability to judge men and to persuade them with words but unsure of what God demanded from America for its collective sins of slavery. Randall Miller's Introduction in particular provides essential weight to the notion that Lincoln's presidential leadership must be seen as a series of interlocking stories. In the end, the contributors collectively remind readers that the Lincoln enshrined as the "Great Emancipator" and "savior of the Union" was in life and practice a work-in-progress. And they insist that "getting right with Lincoln" requires seeing the intersections of his-and America's-military, political, and religious interests and identities.

Published by: Fordham University Press

Series: The North's Civil War

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-vi


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pp. vii-viii


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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xvi

Th is collection of essays derives from a conference on “Lincoln and Leadership,” sponsored by the Abraham Lincoln Foundation of the Union League of Philadelphia and held on April 18, 2009, as part of the bicentennial of Lincoln’s birth. Th e conference filled a large room to overflowing, as scholars, teachers, students, and the public crowded in for a day to hear presentations by prominent students of...

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1 Lincoln and Leadership:An Introduction

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pp. 1-38

Over a half-century ago, the eminent historian David Donald observed that Americans have been trying to “get right with Lincoln” since his death and predicted that trying to do so would continue thereafter.1 He was right on both counts, as any sampling of the enormous and continuing cascade of literature on the man and his meaning will attest. Donald wrote and...

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2 Sowing the Wind and Reaping the Whirlwind

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pp. 39-59

Any consideration of Abraham Lincoln as a war president must attempt to contrast image with historical reality. When it comes to Lincoln, of course, there is no shortage of images. Our conception of this fascinating, contradictory man has been shaped by a mountain of books and articles, as well as numerous works from photographers, painters, sculptors, poets, playwrights,...

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3 Seeing Lincoln’s Blind Memorandum

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pp. 60-77

A few days aft er his reelection on Tuesday, November 8, 1864, President Abraham Lincoln made a startling revelation to his inner circle. According to the diary of aide John Hay, the president “took out a paper from his desk” at the Friday morning cabinet meeting, and said, ‘Gentleman do you remember last summer I asked you all to sign your names to the back of a paper...

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4 Abraham Lincoln as Moral Leader

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pp. 78-95

This chapter addresses the subject of Abraham Lincoln as a moral leader in the context of both the Civil War and nineteenth-century standards of morality. Such a topic, if handled thoroughly, would require an entire book addressing such themes as just-war planning for Civil War campaigns, just-war conduct, treatment of civilians and of prisoners of war, slavery and racism,...

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5 Lincoln and Leadership: An Afterword

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pp. 96-102

Shortly aft er his arrival in Washington in late February 1861, Abraham Lincoln was confronted by an anxious delegation from a national peace conference that was even at that late moment hoping to head off the national gallop toward civil war. They were not unfriendly; many of the conference’s members were, like Lincoln, old-time Whigs from the Upper South and the border...


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pp. 103-120

Bibliographical Essay

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pp. 121-130


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pp. 131-132


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pp. 133-136

The North’s Civil War

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pp. 137-144

E-ISBN-13: 9780823246588
Print-ISBN-13: 9780823243440
Print-ISBN-10: 0823243443

Page Count: 144
Publication Year: 2012

Series Title: The North's Civil War
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OCLC Number: 821708107
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Lincoln and Leadership

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Subject Headings

  • Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865.
  • Lincoln, Abraham, -- 1809-1865 -- Military leadership.
  • Lincoln, Abraham, -- 1809-1865 -- Ethics.
  • Political leadership -- United States -- History -- 19th century.
  • Presidents -- United States -- Decision making.
  • Leadership -- United States -- History -- 19th century.
  • United States -- Politics and government -- 1861-1865 -- Decision making.
  • United States -- Politics and government -- 1861-1865 -- Moral and ethical aspects.
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