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Lincoln and Churchill - Essay Example

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Lincoln and Churchill were both men of great vision and their respective frames of reference helped to shape these visions in a few different ways in particular. Although there are definitely similarities present when doing a comparison of these two leaders, there are also some significant differences as well, and all of these have to be properly taken into consideration in order to be able to come to any sort of a proper understanding on the subject…
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Lincoln and Churchill
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Lincoln and Churchill: A Critical Comparison of Leaders Lincoln and Churchill were both men of great vision and their respective frames of referencehelped to shape these visions in a few different ways in particular. Although there are definitely similarities present when doing a comparison of these two leaders, there are also some significant differences as well, and all of these have to be properly taken into consideration in order to be able to come to any sort of a proper understanding on the subject. It was their key principles of strategic leadership in particular that differed, namely in regards to grand strategy, cultural change and communication. While Lincoln and Churchill both used their great communications skills to move the public into more openly accepting their strategic visions and transforming where necessary, Churchill was much more into details and was constantly challenging his officers to elevate their thinking.
Both leaders also transformed many elements of their respective governments, in particular the thinking of their senior military officers. Lincoln had long believed in colonization and it was this colonization which truly proved a dividing line within the abolitionist movement and "by the 1850s critics such as Douglass, Garrison, and Phillips had seized the initiative. When in 1862 Lincoln suggested that free black leaders lead their people out of America, he espoused a view that had receded into significance. Moreover, as African-Americans enrolled in the Union Army and Navy, served as scouts and spies for the Union forces, and strongly supported the war effort, it became ever more difficult to deny them and their families a claim to American citizenship" (Basler, 1990). Churchill on the other hand worked by transforming Parliament and the British people, and he did this in a number of ways but namely by convincing them that Britain would still be able to win the war, when in reality there was really no hope or actual viability for this at all.
Both Lincoln and Churchill used their communications skills to impact political and public will, and as well they both built consensus with their generals so that policy and war were considered as being one and the same. They both ensured that their generals were well and understanding of the fact of the desired end-state post-war, and as well they transformed their nations through their leadership and renowned ability to communicate with people.
Overall the most important conclusion to make here is that the relationship between military leaders and political leaders is one of great importance and significance, and that, as noted in Cohen's work, "Lincoln, Clemenceau, Churchill and Ben-Gurion led four very different kinds of democracy, under the most difficult circumstances imaginable. They came from four very different backgrounds - backwoods lawyer, dueling French doctor, rogue aristocrat, and impoverished Jewish socialist. Yet they faced similar challenges, not least the possibility that their conduct of the war could bring about their fall from power. Each exhibited mastery of detail and fascination with technology. All four were great learners, who studied war as if it were their own profession, and in many ways mastered it as well as did their generals" (Cohen, 2002). We have this from this comparison of two very influential and significant leaders, Lincoln and Churchill, that communications are very much involved with what a leader must to in order to enable and facilitate a vision, and we have seen that both leaders in this discussion were able to do just this. They both used a variety of theories and concepts in their visions and communicated not only verbally but through their actions and presence as well.

Endnotes
Basler, R. P. The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln/First Supplement 1832-1865 (Collected
Works of Abraham Lincoln, 1st Supplement. Chapel Hill, NC: Rutgers University Press, 1990.
Cohen, Elliot A. Supreme Command. New York: Anchor Books, 2002. Read More
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