What methods did George Bush and Martin Luther King, Jr. use?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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One method that both President Bush and Dr. King employed was the assertion of leadership in a potential leadership vacuum.  In the days following the September 11 Attacks, President Bush seized the mantle of leadership in reaching out to Americans who were concerned and frankly shattered in what they experienced and what they witnessed.  The President was able to calm Americans through television appearances.  Nowhere was this more evident than when the President stood by rescue workers sifting through the debris when he announced  in a non- scripted manner to someone who called out that they could not hear him speaking through the megaphone. When he called out, "I can hear you and the people who knocked down these buildings will hear from all of us," President Bush took hold of the moment with his leadership.  In a time of crisis, the President asserted his leadership, utilizing a method which convinced Americans that they could trust him in such a difficult moment.

Dr. King also asserted leadership in the challenges of the Civil Rights Movement.  During a time period in which so many asked where leadership would come from, Dr. King rose to the moment.  A similar feeling of chaos and challenge that could be seen during the September 11 Attacks was experienced by so many in the Civil Rights Movement, where violence and resistance were met with steely resolve and commitment. Whether it was in Montgomery and the Bus Boycott, speaking at moments such as the March on Washington, and using eloquence in both words and actions to mark specific moments in the Civil Rights Movement. Dr. King used the method of injecting his leadership at critical moments, giving voice to the voiceless, and a sense of power to individuals who might have felt powerless.  The method of recognizing moments that required specific and pointed leadership is where both men used similar approaches to guiding the nation through difficult moments in its history.

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