Summary of the Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin
Goodwin stated that, like Abraham Lincoln, his opposing competitors, William Seward, Salmon Chase and Edward Bates, were all successful lawyers, orators and ambitious politicians who opposed slavery. However, Lincoln’s three rivals were thought to have had greater popularity than the backwoods lawyer from Illinois, and it was assumed by many, even Ralph Waldo Emerson, that Lincoln was the wrong man for the job. Many historians have attributed Lincoln’s nomination to luck, but with Goodwin’s comparative perspective and an assessment of the failed efforts of his powerful competitors, it was obvious that Lincoln won the nomination due to his brilliant Political acumen and personal integrity.
Goodwin’s writings explored the character and career of Abraham Lincoln through observances and interactions with the powerful men who competed with him for the role of president, then came to respect him for the knowledgeable, skilled leader that he was. Goodwin concluded that Lincoln’s self-confidence and integrity, his ability to share the glory for good decisions and communicate openly with those who look upon him with jealousy, enabled him to work with some of the most educated men, win their trust, and lead the country through a turbulent time in history as only a