Imagery of Regent people and campus

Dissertation Abstract

Profile in Leadership: A Hermeneutic Phenomenological Examination of Abraham Lincoln's Leadership During the Civil War Years

Ronald G. Cook
March 2012

The study of leadership is significant to the overall body of knowledge and future training of tomorrow's leaders. The purpose of this study was to examine and analyze the leadership of Abraham Lincoln during the period of 1861-1865. This time period is acknowledged as one of the most difficult in the history of the United States of America. Despite challenges faced, Abraham Lincoln reconciled the Union and eventually led the country to abolishing slavery. This research study examined the leadership competencies shown by President Lincoln through a hermeneutical phenomenological examination of the First Inaugural Address, the Gettysburg Address, and the Second Inaugural Address. An analysis of the work suggests Lincoln consistently displayed four themes of leadership: (a) Lincoln had a vision for the future of the country, (b) Lincoln held firm to his personal values, (c) Lincoln held a positive moral perspective, and (d) Lincoln was a humble leader. This study was unable to confirm that Lincoln exhibited all the characteristics and behaviors associated with authentic leaders. While the three competencies of values, vision, and moral perspective shown by Lincoln can be identified as characteristics of authentic leadership, the competency of humility has not currently been identified as a characteristic of authentic leadership. Future research in the area of authentic leadership regarding the interaction between followers of Lincoln and Lincoln's behavior is warranted.