What were Lincoln's major strengths and weaknesses as a wartime leader?    

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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One of Lincoln's major flaws as a war time leader was that he was unable to identify really good military leadership.  This was a problem at that time because the Army was not as professionalized as it is now.  Nowadays, presidents do not typically have to pick generals because there is an Army system for doing this.  But Lincoln had to pick his generals and he picked a number of bad ones and perhaps stuck with them too long.  A major example of this is how long he stuck with George McClellan even as McClellan's lack of aggression frustrated him.

One of Lincoln's major strengths was the strength of his character and his determination.  Lincoln absorbed many setbacks during the Civil War, some of which were (like McClellan being in command) at least partly his own fault.  But Lincoln did not let the setbacks deter him.  Instead, he learned from mistakes, accepted that they were partly his fault, and moved ahead.  All the time, he kept the main goal of winning the war ahead of his own feelings or pride.

Because of his strengths, Lincoln was able to keep the North together politically long enough to defeat the South in the war.

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