Lincoln (1858) said, “If we could first know where we are, and whither we are tending, we could then better judge what to do, and how to do it”. Even more than his essential trait and skill competencies, Lincoln carefully practiced diversity through his great vision. During the war, Lincoln delegated many policy initiatives to his Cabinet. However, he led the nation and resolutely achieved many goals from the Republican platform. Through his economic leadership, the United States passed the Legal Tender Act, a National Banking Act, a transcontinental railroad via the Pacific Railroad Act, Homestead Acts, and a Land Grant College Act. While leading the nation to the end of a great Civil War, Lincoln shepherded the great vision he always believed in from his early rise in politics to the Presidency. He transformed the nation from subsistence farming to the beginnings of an economic dynamo, all with great care in furthering the common person and providing a chance, an opportunity to better oneself. (Gienapp, 2002)
Tichy (1986) wrote about transformational leadership and a quote seems to speak almost directly on Lincoln when he said, “This vision of the future must be formulated in such a way that it will make the pain of changing worth the effort” (p. 122). As Gienapp (2002) reiterated about Lincoln, “…his leadership demonstrated the combination of resolute ends and flexible means that would be the hallmark of his presidency” (p. 92). Reinforced by Tichy (1986):
The essence of transformational leadership is the capacity to adapt means to ends—to shape and reshape institutions and structures to achieve broad human purposes and moral aspirations…the secret of transforming leadership is the capacity of leaders to have their goals clearly and firmly in mind, to fashion new institutions relevant to those goals, to stand back from immediate events and day-to-day routines and understand the potential and consequences of change. (p. 187)
At the height of his political life (Abe was cut short on leading the nation through the Reconstruction) Abraham Lincoln was stopped by an assassin’s bullet. Nevertheless, Lincoln’s leadership, morals, values, vision, and immense skill saved the United States from certain disaster. In preserving the Union and abolishing the abhorrent practice of slavery, Abraham Lincoln guided the country to a noble place in history.
Galbraith, J.K. (1977). In The age of uncertainty. In R. Andrews, M. Biggs, & M. Seidel, et al. (1996). The Columbia World of Quotations. Search by “leadership.” Number: 24326. Retrieved November 2, 2004, from http://www.bartleby.com/66/26/24326.html
Gienapp, W.E. (2002). Abraham lincoln and civil war america a biography. New York: Oxford.
Keneally, T. (2003). Abraham lincoln. New York: Penguin.
Lincoln, A. (n.d.). In Six months at the white house (Carpenter, 1867). In Respectfully quoted: A dictionary of quotations requested from the congressional research service. Platt, S., (ed.) (1989). Search by “Abraham Lincoln.” Number: 110. Retrieved November 8, 2004, from http://www.bartleby.com/73/110.html
Lincoln, A. (1858). In The collected works of abraham lincoln. (Basler, 1953). In Respectfully quoted: A dictionary of quotations requested from the congressional research service. Platt, S., (ed.) (1989). Search by “Abraham Lincoln.” Number: 936. Retrieved November 8, 2004, from http://www.bartleby.com/73/936.html
Tichy, N.M., & DeVanna, M.A. (1986). The transformational leader. New York: John Wiley.
© Neal Huffman 2015 all rights reserved
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