Abraham Lincoln may have been the most-criticized president in our nation’s history. In addition to the usual worries about economic matters, constitutional legality, and foreign affairs policies, he also presided over a civil war.
But the issue of slavery is what brought him the greatest amount of grief…from both sides.
A mere 10 days before “The Rail-Splitter” took office, the country split in two. The southern states seceded from the Union and took with them their federal agencies, forts, weapons, and military personnel.
War was on the horizon.
But this war wouldn’t be fought over oil. Or territory. Or revenge. It would be fought over the moral issue of slavery, something both sides felt very strongly about. His position on slavery put Lincoln at the center of controversy…and criticism.
In a speech in 1864, the President addressed the constant rebuking he faced over the issue.
The shepherd drives the wolf from the sheep’s throat, for which the sheep thanks the shepherd as liberator, while the wolf denounces him for the same act as the destroyer of liberty, especially as the sheep is a black one.
As a leader, Lincoln knew how to effectively deal with criticism. He didn’t allow the squawking to undermine his position or efforts. In the end, though it cost him his life, Abraham Lincoln overcame criticism and helped America overcome the injustice of slavery.
Lincoln on Leadership by Donald T. Phillips. Warner Books, 1992, Pages 69-70.
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(Resource cataloged by David R Smith)