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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?"


migration rejected from Nov 18 '13 at 3:00

This question came from our site for historians and history buffs. Votes, comments, and answers are locked due to the question being closed here, but it may be eligible for editing and reopening on the site where it originated.

closed as off-topic by Chuck Sherrington, Jeromy Anglim Nov 18 '13 at 3:00

  • This question does not appear to be about cognitive sciences within the scope defined in the help center.
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

This isn't about history but about, I don't know, some sort of speculative contra-factual time-travel? I don't even think Lincoln would have known the answer to that question. – Lennart Regebro Nov 6 '13 at 14:19
maybe better suited for – New Alexandria Nov 6 '13 at 14:22
The question is about Lincoln's character and personality. Was he the kind of person who, like fire fighters, would run into a burning building to help save people? – please delete me Nov 6 '13 at 14:24
This question could be more suitable for cognitive sciences (at least as I edited it, changing as little as possible). – Tom Au Nov 6 '13 at 15:04
This question appears to be off-topic because it does not ask about a specific concept in the cognitive sciences – Chuck Sherrington Nov 18 '13 at 1:25

need for achievement...

and of course situation which need that kind of personality (in this time)