Part way through the audiobook Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin, this question came to mind. Would Lincoln do it over again? Knowing the burden of being president during the trying times of the U.S. Civil War and his ultimate violent death, would he still have pursued the course to offer his service and leadership?
"These are the times in which a genius would wish to live.", wrote Abigail Adams a couple generations earlier. "It is not in the still calm of life, or the repose of a pacific station, that great characters are formed. The habits of a vigorous mind are formed in contending with difficulties. Great necessities call out great virtues. When a mind is raised, and animated by scenes that engage the heart, then those qualities which would otherwise lay dormant, wake into life and form the character of the hero and the statesman." (John Adams by David McCullough, page 226)
Some people have the courage, character and conviction of will to proceed down a dangerous course for a higher goal and calling. How would one determine that Abraham Lincoln was such a man prior to his election or that his character forged by the national conflict?
Or do people like him end up in leadership roles during critical times "by accident?"