Lincoln and Leadership in Crisis

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Abraham Lincoln, 1863.
Abraham Lincoln, 1863.

We can’t help wondering if he could have imagined an African-American president in the White House on this anniversary. Let alone an African-American president who so embraced him, Lincoln, as a model and hero.

Barack Obama has again and again held up Lincoln as an inspiration. But Lincoln was also a down-in-the-details, do-what-it-takes leader -- and a canny politician — who presided over the most trying years in all of American history.

So, how might the man who fought the Civil War have faced Obama’s plate of problems? This hour, On Point: Lincoln’s leadership style in the White House.

You can join the conversation. Do you think of Lincoln as a distant marble statue, or a real and relevant leader now? What should Obama learn from Lincoln?Guests:

From Dallas, Texas, we're joined by James M. McPherson. One of America’s leading historians of the Civil War, he’s professor emeritus of history at Princeton University. He won a Pulitzer Prize in 1989 for his Civil War history “Battle Cry of Freedom.” He’s the author of two new works on Lincoln: the short biography “Abraham Lincoln” and “Tried by War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief,” which, just today, won the Lincoln Prize for outstanding Civil War scholarship.
Read an excerpt from "Tried by War."

Joining us from Hanover, N.H., is Jack Beatty, On Point news analyst and senior editor at The Atlantic.

This program aired on February 12, 2009.


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