Abraham Lincoln - essay
Abraham Lincoln was the president of the United States during the Civil War. He had many responsibilities as a president, even more during the war. Frederick Douglass was a former African American slave who managed to move up North to be free, but black people still weren’t treated the same as white people. Lincoln and Douglass were both effective leaders, but they showed this in different ways. “Waiting For Mr. Lincoln” by Russell Freedman and “Life and Times of Frederick Douglass” by Frederick Douglass show how Lincoln and Douglass managed to be effective leaders. Effective leaders are willing to sacrifice for the problems that people are worried about. Douglass did this by sacrificing his own time, “He was determined to wait,” (Freedman, 14). By being determined to wait, he showed how he was willing to sacrifice his own personal time to help others. Douglass’s job was not to help these people, he took these matters into his own hands and sacrificed his own time to make a change for those troops. Effective leaders will be worrying about these problems purposely, not just when a job or position requires them to care. Effective leaders want the best for the people they are leading, to make changes and better the lives of these people, it usually takes work.
Douglass was willing to work to fight for the rights of the African-Americans in the war even when that wasn’t accepted, “Even so, in the year 1863 it required plenty of ‘nerve,’ as Douglass put it, for a black man to walk unannounced into the White House and request an audience with the president,” (Freedman, 11). When black and white people didn’t have equal rights, it wasn’t socially accepted for black people to want to speak with the president. Douglass didn’t let this stop him though. Douglass knew that being the voice for all the African American troops would be more important. Effective Leaders are always determined, Douglass proved he was determined by entering the White House and requesting to speak to the president before America had equal rights for everyone. Effective leaders also don’t only fight for things that only apply to them. Douglass wasn’t a soldier in the Union army but still, “By meeting with the president, he hoped to “secure just and fair treatment” for the thousands of black troops who had enlisted in the Union army and were now fighting for the North in America’s Civil War,” (Freedman, 7). Although he didn’t work in the army, Douglass still wanted the best for the soldiers.
He was willing to fight for and act as an advocate for the black troops fighting against the South. By always thinking of others and fighting for the rights of others, Douglass proved how much of an effective leader he really is.
Abraham Lincoln was also an effective leader during the Civil war. Being the president, he had excessive power but, he didn’t let this get to his head so, “Lincoln tried to meet with as many callers as he possibly could each day. He said he enjoyed his ‘public opinion baths’ and found them a useful way to find out what people were thinking,” (Freedman, 3). By being open to what the citizens of America had to say, Lincoln was able to identify problems and think of solutions much faster. The way Lincoln was open to his people’s opinions and concerns allowed him to see a different point of view on each problem in the country.
Without Lincoln having these conversations and, in turn, developing solutions to concerning matters proves how effective Lincoln was as a leader during his times in office. Effective leaders will usually try to improve the lives of people that look up to them. Lincoln did this and was concerned when anything he had the ability to fix was posing a problem to anyone in America. When Frederick Douglass had concerns,“Mr. Lincoln listened with patience and silence to all I had to say. He was serious and even troubled by what I had said and by he himself had evidently before thought on the same points,” (Douglass, 2). Lincoln didn’t just sit there while Douglass talked to him. Instead, he really listened. Lincoln payed attention to what he was being told and thought about how he could make changes. When he found out about a problem, he immediately started thinking of solutions. Lincoln wanted to make a change and by doing this be an effective leader. Leaders sometimes don’t care about the matters that they have control over. But, effective leaders are always passionate about the matters they are dealing with and will always want the best outcome when referring to decisions he or she can change.
They think about what is best for their people, not just themselves. Lincoln showed this after his conversation with Douglass, “In all this I saw the tender heart of a man rather than the stern warrior and commander-in-chief of the American army and navy,” (Douglass, 3). Lincoln took what Douglass was telling him personally.
Instead of not caring or thinking it didn’t matter just because it didn’t apply to him, Lincoln wanted to make a change because he wanted the best for all of his people. Lincoln was compassionate and thought about what other people might be struggling with so that he could make changes to better their lives rather than just thinking about his own. Effective leaders play a big role in everyday life. They have also affected important times in history. Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass were two individuals who did this. By being effective leaders, they helped get closer to having equal rights for African Americans and help put an end to slavery and segregation.
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