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Lincoln as a Model of Prudent Leadership

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  A good political leader will be prepared with education, reason and the ability to communicate in order to support his achievement of power and to promote his good use of it. Political leadership requires an understanding of power, which means that a leader must know how to attain power. Control can be defined as the ability to manage the elements of situations in such a way so that the best possible outcome can be achieved, however, it must be understood that in political leadership in a democratic society it does not mean absolutism in which all outcomes are defined solely by the leader.

It means that control is maintained so that efficiency in the way in which government or the collective functions is maintained. Once attained and managed, power must be a useful tool in which the leader has the ability to make and implement decisions, even when the decisions are hard and have impacts that might cause detriment to some people. It is the virtue of the individual that will make a big difference in the application of power. According to Joseph Fornieri, American political historian and Professor of Political Science from The Rochester Institute of Technology, as he paraphrases Plutarch who wrote that “ virtue is more readily identifiable when it is manifested concretely through the actions of a particular individual who embodies its qualities and characteristics” (125).

The actions of President Lincoln during the Civil War showed that he could attain and manage power while tempering it with his virtues and education.   The time period of the American Civil War was one of, if not the most, difficult times in the history of the United States.

The issue of states rights over the rights of the federal government was at stake, with a group of states seceding from the union and instigating war. President Abraham Lincoln was thrust into the center of a conflict that threatened to radically change the composition of the nation and was required to make hard decisions as a result. In engaging in radical change through decisive actions.

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