Monthly Archives: September 2011

Executive: “Lincoln has all the great qualities of any great leader I know”

Lincoln’s leadership talents were the subject of a speech delivered at Utah State University:

Jerry Bussell, vice president of operations at Medtronic, was the keynote speaker for a Business Operational Excellence seminar, sponsored by the business college. As president of Bussell Lean Services, he said he advocates a people-first leadership style.            

“Lincoln has all the qualities of any great leader I know,” Bussell said. “He was humble, yet he had great resolve.”

Bussell said he has done extensive research into Lincoln’s life, career and presidency. He is currently working on a book about his findings, he added.

You can read a summary of Bussell’s remarks by clicking here.

Leave a comment

Filed under Lincoln and Memory, Lincoln as Commander-in-Chief, Lincoln as President

O’Reilly on Lincoln’s leadership

NPR talked to commentator Bill O’Reilly, who has co-written a new book on the Lincoln assassination, about his interest in the Great Emancipator’s leadership qualities.  You can read O’Reilly’s remarks at

Leave a comment

Filed under Lincoln and Memory

Charles Hubbard to speak in conjunction with Lincoln exhibit

Dr. Charles Hubbard will deliver a lecture on Lincoln and the Constitution at Columbia State Community College in Columbia, TN on Oct. 3 at 6:30 CT, 7:30 EST.  The speech is being hosted in conjunction with a special exhibit, Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War, created by the National Constitution Center and the American Library Association Public Programs Office.  The exhibition runs through Oct. 28 at the John W. Finney Memorial Library on the CSCC campus.

Leave a comment

Filed under Lincoln Updates, LMU Lincoln News

Is Newt Gingrich running on Lincoln’s platform?

Gingrich argues that the proposals in his “21st Century Contract with America” are “exactly what Abraham Lincoln would have campaigned on.”  Talking Points Memo has a piece on Gingrich and the Republican platforms of 1860 and 1864, which you can read by clicking here.

Leave a comment

Filed under Lincoln and Memory

Lincoln, Obama, and unilateral war

In an editorial at History News Network, David Gray Adler argues that Obama’s unilateral approach to military action is one Lincoln consistently refused to take:

Lincoln would have been sharply critical of his admirer’s assertion of a unilateral executive power to initiate military hostilities.  In the course of his distinguished political career, Lincoln consistently rejected the concept that the president had the power to initiate war. He understood that the Constitution vests in Congress the sole and exclusive authority to wage war on behalf of the American citizenry.

Leave a comment

Filed under Lincoln as Commander-in-Chief

Charles Hubbard speaks to Civil War Roundtable

Dr. Charles Hubbard, executive director of the Abraham Lincoln Institute for the Study of Leadership and Public Policy, spoke to the Tri-Cities Civil War Roundtable on Monday, September 12. Hubbard’s presentation dealt with the relationships between Lincoln and his generals during the fall of 1861.

Lincoln appointed politically influential individuals to positions of command in an effort to secure the support of different constituencies, but some of these appointees proved unwilling to implement presidential directives or poorly suited to the task of leading armies.

One of the most troublesome generals during this relatively obscure period of the war was John C. Fremont, a prominent explorer and politician of the antebellum years.  As commander of the Department of the West, Fremont instituted martial law in the border state of Missouri and declared that state’s slaves free.  Lincoln had not yet implemented his own emancipation policy, and he feared this rash move would alienate the border state citizens, whose support he badly needed.  He ultimately rescinded Fremont’s emancipation order and removed him from command of the department.  A year later, Lincoln announced an emancipation policy of his own.

Leave a comment

Filed under Lincoln as Commander-in-Chief, LMU Lincoln News

“The grief of a loss so overwhelming”

During his remarks at Ground Zero to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, George W. Bush quoted one of the most famous and controversial pieces of writing associated with Lincoln.


The letter to Lydia Bixby has a tangled history, and even the details contained in the text itself are muddled.  Mrs. Bixby actually lost two sons, rather than five, to the war.  The mistake seems to have originated with Massachusetts Adjutant General William Schouler, who informed Gov. John Andrew that all five of Mrs. Bixby’s sons died in battle.  Andrew forwarded this information to the War Department, and from there it made its way to the Executive Mansion.

As for the three surviving sons, one received an honorable discharge, another left the army before being discharged, and the third was captured and reportedly deserted to the enemy.  Ironically, Mrs. Bixby’s family claimed that she was a Confederate sympathizer who had little regard for Lincoln.  The text was printed in the newspapers, and forged facsimile copies continue to circulate today, although the original is long since lost.

Perhaps the most interesting debate surrounding the Bixby letter is the question of whether or not Lincoln actually composed it. According to some oral testimony, Lincoln’s secretary John Hay may have claimed to be the original author.  Hay also pasted a copy of the letter into a scrapbook containing some of his writing, which Lincoln authority Michael Burlingame considered evidence for his authorship.

Other researchers, such as Ed Steers, think it more likely that the Bixby letter is an authentic Lincoln composition.  Lincoln’s eldest son Robert reported that Hay denied any association with the letter to him, and believed that his father was indeed the author. Whatever the letter’s origin, the fact that it continues to be such a popular text to invoke in times of sacrifice and suffering is due not only to its literary power, but to Lincoln’s unparalleled place in American memory.

The complete document, along with annotations, is available online in the Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln.

Leave a comment

Filed under Lincoln and Memory, Lincoln's Writings

Lincoln letter to McClellan going up for sale

From the Associated Press:

The Raab Collection in Philadelphia is selling the document, which for decades has belonged to an anonymous private collector. The asking price is $100,000.

Lincoln wrote the letter to Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan on Oct. 29, 1862, requesting a progress report. The handwritten note on presidential stationery with “Executive Mansion” printed at the top, states that Lincoln was pleased with the movement of McClellan’s Army of the Potomac as it crossed the Potomac River into Loudoun County, Va., and he was closely following its advancement.

The president’s battlefield dispatch to McClellan ends: “When you get entirely across the river let me know. What do you know of the enemy?” The letter is signed A. Lincoln.

Though the apparently hastily scrawled note belies Lincoln’s dissatisfaction with McClellan’s performance, it is the president’s final correspondence to the general before relieving him of his command for failing to aggressively pursue Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee since the Battle of Antietam a month earlier.

Leave a comment

Filed under Lincoln as Commander-in-Chief, Lincoln Updates