• The Costs of Being Leader Can Sometimes Overwhelm: Lincoln’s health was severely impacted by the war. The stress of the office, the most labour intensive job in the world, had severally inspired him but also severely tired him out. The success of the war was a massive relief on the country and the man. He claims that public life is difficult and full of carping envy and malignant criticism. Most presidential candidates live shortened lives relative to life expectancy. This is despite having the best doctors in the country. The emotional pain can be unbearable for most people that is why running for the presidency is so incredibly difficult. If you’re a budding politician who want fame and fortune, quit and form a rock band. Public service is extremely taxing on individuals. They all tend to be Alpha people, who tend to be both hyper-ambitious and full of anger, pain, suffering which drives them to the heights of high office. The cost was abundantly clear in Lincoln’s case when – on April 14th, 1865 – he was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth at the Ford’s Theater in Washington DC.
• Always Claim that Appointments are based on Merit Not Loyalty: Lincoln claimed to reward positions to people who have the merit to achieve public service ends. He did not believe in distributing graft to his friends and supporters to a great extent. He did have a lot of graft to distribute but he did not want to be seen as a leader of a patronage fiefdom. Chase attacked him when he planned to run for president by claiming that that Lincoln rewarded only his friends: those people who could close rifts within the party and not the qualified. This, in effect, meant that Lincoln was only interested in rising to power for the perks of distributing graft to his friends. This disparaged Chase’s character. If you can claim that a person’s political behaviour is based on advancement then you will be successful. You can also make this claim anyway despite the fact that the person has no real intentions in that direction. Everyone is cynical of politicians because they act partly to keep themselves in power.
• Moral Imperatives Should be Spun for Their Short-Term Benefits: The Emancipation Proclaimation was surpising for Lincoln’s cabinet but he was able to sell it successfully. Emancipating the slaves would have several foreseeable consequences on the war. A) Confederacy would fight more zealously to protect their sovereignty because slavery rights now had legally tender. B) Northern Blacks would fight in the army for their fellow southern Black’s legal freedom within a united USA. C) Lincoln’s colleagues would argue that Blacks be deported from the United States. D) Lincoln could claim the full implications of what was already at the centre of the dispute over state legal sovereignty: slavery. Lincoln did not mention the long-term benefits of abolishing slavery such as a more equal society where the opportunity towards advancement is possible. Lincoln’s reasoning must have been that the human mind, the electorate cannot think in the long-term unless the benefits are so much greater than the costs in the short-term. Short-term consequences also included the New York Draft Riots in 1863 which led to a drop in new recruits.
• Don’t Deal with Racism Directly: even if it’s all everyone is talking about: indirect discussions of the slavery issue were at the centre of the dispute between north and south. Racism is an unpleasant and complicated fact of the 1860s and 2000s. Slavery was a legally entrenched manifestation of the Aristotelian philosophy of America equality before the Civil War. Since the Civil War, Lincoln’s lesson has been that you should try not to talk about the elephant in the living room because it is too complicated given subjectivity of rationality: because racism is so complicated: misinterpreting language to mean something racist, joking about racism (Dave Chappelle) perpetuates racism, misinterpreting pride for ones culture as racist, treating others prejudicially partly due to race, cultural traditions can be taken on because someone wants to get in touch with their background… Lincoln didn’t labour on these implications of his actions. If you focus ahead on what you can do to solve the problem of racism then you have tackled racism. Don’t try to tackle racism head on, it is a human behaviour, tackle the symptoms of racism which are tangible.
• Practice Writing Speeches, Speaking and Rhetoric: Lincoln redefined republicanism; he defined the issues of the war for the nation, the world and posterity. He was wrong to claim that “the world will little note, nor long remember what we say here” at Gettysburg. His philosophy was based on the Declaration of Independence as a foundation of American political values: the ‘sheet anchor’ or republicanism. That declaration believed in the equality and freedom for all men, rather than the Constitution’s tolerance of slavery. More importantly, he used words to captivate a wide range of supporters. He was vague enough to fill each listeners ear with what it was they wanted to hear. Each person then interprets what he or she hear from him in terms of his or her own experiences and decide to support his cause.
• Don’t Follow the Rules: Limits to State Autonomy in Federalism: By the time Lincoln was officially president, the Confederacy was a fact. His inauguration in 1860 spoke of the United States Constitution being designed to “form a more perfect union”. Lincoln tried to appeal to the border slave state with the Corwin Amendment to the Constitution, which had already passed congress. Abraham Lincoln ignored the constitutionality of secessionism: The Southern states began to succeed from the union because Lincoln gained the presidency. Lincoln was adamant about stopping these states from such action at any cost thus leading to war. First of all, there was a great deal of autonomy between these states. Federalism is designed to maintain the cultural integrity of separate states within a united country. There are limits to a cultural group’s rights with respect to those of the greater whole: the United States was greater than the sum of its parts. The South disagreed; they were motivated by economic concerns. The problem with federalism is not that individuals were not terribly well connected and so micro-cultures emerged. The problem is that a broader slave culture dominated the southern states. A Northerner who believed that Republican Party policy was morally superior trampled their culture.
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• If A Mistake Is Made, Save Face: Cameron was going to be in Lincoln’s cabinet but Lincoln received a massive backlash. He resolved to make it known that the appointment had been made but tell Cameron that he should not accept it thus saving face. This worked perfectly.
• Never cause people to hate you deeply: Be Moderate: he won at the Republican convention because he was able to avoid angering large portions of his party and come up from the middle of the convention spectrum of supporters. Seward was the front-runner but his candidacy was divisive. Lincoln was not considered a serious contender for the leadership until approaching the convention itself in Chicago. Lincoln’s position on slavery evolved from being personally opposed to calling on government to impose federal law to abolish slavery. Lincoln married into a Kentucky slave owning family for example. He remained moderate during courtship. In 1859, Lincoln said blacks should have citizenship and the vote.
Never say more than is necessary: Lincoln did not campaign by discussing issues that might create gaffes in 1860. He had other Republicans campaign on his platform & Lincoln’s life story: boyhood poverty, pioneer background, native genius and his rise from obscurity. Free labour was the undercurrent: any young boy could work to rise to the top. The Democratic campaign had to dig around for speeches he had written while a prairie lawyer. Going through his trash was difficult but his opponents did manage to cause some harm, particularly the Lincoln-Douglas debates, which exposed Lincoln’s anti-slavery bias. Lincoln simply stood for the Republican Platform in 1860 with local campaigns doing all the talking. He never campaigned explicitly on slavery because he would not have won an election that way. Most people knew where he leaned but as long as he didn’t make his views explicit he could be inoffensive. This is a tight rope because if you don’t indicate some direction, no one will care to vote for an unknown sum. Obfuscation is a great tactic for gaining tacit consent from the people whose views you are supposed to represent.