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Lincoln vs. Davis Essay
Davis vs. Lincoln The management styles of Jefferson Davis and Abraham Lincoln greatly influenced the outcome of the Civil War. Lincoln’s primary goal was to preserve the union, and in order to do this, he made certain decisions that were un-constitutional. These decisions ultimately strengthened his role as the president as the war progressed. He even stated in his address that if necessary, he would do whatever it takes to win. Jefferson, in contrast, demonstrated a very loose ruling over the people of the confederacy.
He was honest and followed the law without breaking rules. He allowed the war to be controlled by the military leaders who were participants in the battle, and he gave his generals trust and authority. The result of Daviis’s leadership style was an executive branch weaker than Lincoln’s. It is debatable that because of Lincoln’s reckless, un-lawful decisions, the Union was able to win the war against the South. According to document A, Lincoln had a “blatant disregard for the Constitution. Throughout the war, Abraham Lincoln increased the Army, spent money without approval and made un-justified arrests. During his presidency he also held opposing political enemies in jail without trial so he could potentially gain more votes. “As he delivered the Gettysburg Address, his troops guarded the polls at a state election in Delaware, insuring a Republican Victory” (Document A). It is interesting to think how Lincoln is typically portrayed as “Honest Abe” and “The Great Emancipator” since he was none of these things.
Jefferson Davis was the honest, law abiding president that most people believe Lincoln to be. He was a very intelligent, great public speaker known for integrity. Unlike Lincoln, Davis became slightly less popular because he refused to remove un-successful officers. His support of state sovereignty was based on deep conviction. (Document A) Davis was a very ineffective micromanager. While the battles raged on, Davis trusted his Generals to lead the war and make the decisions. Davis on the other hand had a calm, relaxed leadership style and welcomed the input of others.
He was known to change strategies and even allowed the generals to change strategies that he had strongly opposed. Davis was able to forgive his opponents and listen to their concerns. He would consider the opinions of others and would revise his actions according to information from generals, his cabinet, or the people. One of the factors contributing to the outcome of the war due to leadership styles was that Lincoln micromanaged his generals and acted as the authority, while Davis allowed the generals freedom with decisions and battle strategies.
Lincoln would go to any lengths to pursue his goals of preserving the Union and “ordered thousands of arrest, kept political enemies in prison without bringing charges against them, refused these hapless men right to trial by their peers, and ignored orders from the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court to release them”. (Document A) Lincoln was goal oriented and focused on his plan and was not receptive to input from authorities or the people. Lincoln’s act of silencing his opponents led to fear in the public and ultimately to Lincoln getting his way.
Because of Lincoln’s strong dedication to win the war, his strategy was much more powerful than Davis’s. Davis ran on a trial and error style of fighting, while Lincoln would not accept failure. Because of his persistence and record of winning battles, Lincoln had a strategic advantage over the Confederacy. Perhaps if Davis had a taken more responsibility and aggressiveness toward the Union, the outcome would have been different. However, because of the completely different leadership styles, the Union achieved victory over the Confederate army.