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Lincoln, Abraham (1809-1865), 16th president of the United States (1861-1865) was one of the truly great leaders in American history. His personality elevated him to the status of a legend and a folk hero after his death.

The Man
From the humble backwoods of America, Lincoln rose to become one of the great presidents of the United States. Always known to having strong convictions against slavery, he joined the newly formed antislavery Republican Party in 1856 and was elected president of the slavery issue just before the outbreak of the Civil War. In 1863 Lincoln proclaimed the freedom of slaves in the South and gave his famous Gettysburg Address recalling the principles of equality established by America’s founding fathers. A superb politician, he persuaded the people with reasoned word and thoughtful deed to look to him for leadership. He had a lasting influence on American political institutions, most importantly in setting the precedent of vigorous executive action in time of national emergency.

Abraham Lincoln was assassinated on Good Friday, April 14, 1865 by a half-crazed actor John Wilkes Booth, a few days after the South surrendered. Of all the American presidents, Lincoln is probably the one about whom the most has been written. Many critical evaluations of his life have been published, but they have not diminished his stature, and he remains one of the foremost products of American democracy and an eloquent spokesman for its ideals.

Career Lessons From Abraham Lincoln
During the Civil War, although Lincoln had little military training or experience, he was often called upon to make decisions that would ordinarily be made by professional military people. Although the advice he got on military matters was often conflicting, most of his decisions were good and well timed. Essential to all success is the timing of recommendations and actions. There is no magic formula for developing a sense of timing. This skill is often acquired through lessons learned through failure. Knowing whom you are dealing with, their motives, characters, priorities and ambitious are critical elements even when seeking approval of the simplest recommendation.