Communication Lessons from Abraham Lincoln
Doris Kearns Goodwin provided all Civil War lovers with a wonderful book entitled Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln. As the title implies, Lincoln’s cabinet consisted of men who were running for president or were political rivals to Lincoln leading up to the 1860 presidential election. This book was the book that was the basis for the movie Lincoln (directed by Spielberg himself!).
As a pastor and preacher, I am always interested in how leaders communicate. For us, it’s always a work in progress. In reading this work, Goodwin relays the account of the beginnings of Lincoln’s rivalry with Stephen Douglas. At the time, the issue of slavery was bringing the Union to a tipping point. Western expansion of the United States brought the issue of whether to allow slavery into these new areas. The newly passed Kansas-Nebraska Act (1854) repealed the Missouri Compromise of 1820 and allowed those new territories to decide for themselves if they would be slave or free—a doctrine known as popular sovereignty. Stephen Douglas was the main proponent of this doctrine. At the time, Lincoln was merely against westward expansion of slavery—a view that would increasing evolve into one who believed …read more