Political Leadership Inspired by the Theme Essay

Pages: 3 (1057 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: American History


The Civil War was the bloodiest in American history, and yet President Abraham Lincoln pursued and persisted in a just cause. It could have been considered politically expedient to allow the slave states to cede, avoiding the conflict but permitting the institution of slavery to continue unchallenged, unhindered, and unresolved. Instead, Lincoln did the difficult thing: he invested human and financial resources in a deadly and costly conflict that lasted years. Lincoln is recognized as one of the world's greatest leaders because of his vision, determination, and trust in his fellow Americans. The Union won the war because of Lincoln's leadership, which was unwavering. Lincoln understood that slavery went against the moral fabric of the nation as well as the principles embedded in the United States Constitution. The United States could become a "more perfect union" by achieving a cohesive culture devoid of slavery and other gross injustices. Lincoln's decisions were not necessarily politically expedient; but they were morally correct and did result in a more perfect union "conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal," (Lincoln, 1863).

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One of the reasons why Lincoln emerges as one of the greatest American leaders is because he put country before politics, and even before his own self-interest. Lincoln's beliefs about slavery stemmed from his commitment to upholding the core values of the American Constitution, such as liberty, freedom, and equality. As Smith (2013) points out, "to understand Lincoln's leadership properly, one must understand it as a feature of constitutional government." What this means is that Lincoln places formal law and due process of law ahead of personality politics. "Constitutional government cares more about the forms than about the outcomes," (Smith, 2013). Ironically, a strong leader also must be results-oriented and Lincoln was clearly results-oriented based on his "almost uncontrollable obsession" with achieving goals (Phillips, 1992).

TOPIC: Essay on Political Leadership Inspired by the Theme Assignment

Leadership rooted in constitutional law and values can seem paradoxical because of the leader's concern both for process and outcomes. The paradox of constitutional leadership is that "Leadership involves boldness, decisiveness and action, even a willingness to go it alone; constitutions work in the opposite direction, imposing forms and rules, checks on power and limits on executive initiative," (Smith, 2013). Leaders like Lincoln are "masters of paradox," (Philllips, 1992, p. 79). Lincoln "showed his mastery of paradox by skillfully providing a rock-solid, stable government as a foundation for the nation's security, while at the same time personally instituting massive amounts of change," (Phillips, 1992, p. 79). Maintaining the stability and integrity of the nation was the main reason why Lincoln refused to watch the South cede. The United States of America was a union that needed to be preserved, and its integrity depended on the development of shared values and ideals. Slave owners and those who supported them disagreed with Lincoln, but their views were tainted by racism. Lincoln knew that if the nation was to survive, slavery could not be a part of it.

Lincoln chose to do what was right rather than what was politically expedient, even during the darkest times of the Civil War. As Moreton (2008) points out, things were looking good for the… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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Political Leadership Inspired by the Theme.  (2013, April 11).  Retrieved October 27, 2021, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/political-leadership-inspired-theme/9203837

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"Political Leadership Inspired by the Theme."  11 April 2013.  Web.  27 October 2021. <https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/political-leadership-inspired-theme/9203837>.

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"Political Leadership Inspired by the Theme."  Essaytown.com.  April 11, 2013.  Accessed October 27, 2021.