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  motivate change, and rise to the challenge when followers won’t change.

Abraham Lincoln was such a person… a great leader.

Lincoln was a unique man for a dangerous & precarious time. 

Consider the challenges he faced in the 4+ years of his Presidency…

  • In the 1850s, decisions meant to compromise on slavery, only splintered the nation.

  • Lincoln was committed to preserve the Union; he became called to eradicate slavery.

  • Through the Dred Scott decision, a Supreme Court was set on promoting slavery.

  • Territorial openness to slavery was not in concert with the intent of the founding fathers.

  • The electorate, allured by popular sovereignty, was willing to give up its principles.

  • Extremists on both sides, like John Brown and John Wilkes Booth were eager to act.

  • States in the South would not even have Lincoln’s name on the ballot.

  • Third party candidates that could easily have affected the election.

  • Popular Generals, Fremont and McClellan, would later ran for president against him.

  • Seven Southern States seceded prior to his taking office.

  • The constant threat of Border States Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri to secede.

  • International intrigue… a possible war with England, the Trent affair & France/ Mexico.

  • The inflammatory leadership from the Confederate States of America.

  • Jealous cabinet members, with their own agendas, like a Salmon Chase presidency. 

  • Abolitionists, like Charles Sumner, well-intentioned, but accepting no compromise.

  • Racial prejudice rampant, even among those wanting emancipation.

  • Know-Nothings, political aspirants who hated immigrants and Catholics.

  • Former Whigs, who had similar political impulses but lacked the required courage.

  • Peace Democrats, like Vallandigham, who challenged the draft and will to fight.

  • Political riots, like the draft riots in New York.

  • Newspaper editors, like Horace Greeley, never satisfied, wanting a pound of flesh.

  • Radical Republicans, like Benjamin Wade, punishing the South in reconstruction.

  • Office seekers, seeking patronage and all of his time.

  • Family situations, from the death of his son, to attention to his insecure wife.

  • Maverick generals like Hunter and Fremont, who acted out their own abolitionism.

  • Lack of courage or incompetence in Generals, like McClellan and Burnside.

  • Successful Southern Generals, like the exceptional Lee and Jackson 

  • The weight of war… with over 600,000 killed on both sides.  

  • Former slaves, like Frederick Douglass, who never seemed satisfied with what was done.

  • Potential and real Assassins, like those in Baltimore and John Wilkes Booth.                                                           

  • And the ever-present slaves…unrepresented, thought sub-human, yet he saw as equals.

  • For all of these challenges, and more, Lincoln was equal to the task.

 

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