Lincoln and Leadership explores the interplay of military, political, and religious factors informing Lincoln's thought and action and guiding dynamics of his leadership. The contributors, all respected Civil War era scholars, focus on several critical moments in Lincoln's presidency to understand the ways Lincoln recognized and dealt with such issues and concerns such as emancipation, military strategy, relations with generals, the use of black troops, party politics and his own re-election, the morality of the war, the place of America in God's design, and the meaning and obligations of sustaining the Union.
Overall they argue that Lincoln was simultaneously consistent regarding his commitments to freedom, democratic government, and Union but flexible, and sometimes contradictory , in the means by which to preserve and extend that freedom. They further point to the ways in which Lincoln's decision making defined his presidency and recast understandings of American 'exceptionalism'.
They emphasize that the real Lincoln was an unabashed party man and a shrewd politician, a self-taught commander-in-chief, and a deeply religious man who was confident in his ability to judge men and to persuade them with words but unsure of what God demanded from America for its collective sin of slavery.
Randall Miller's Introduction in particular provides essential weight to the notion that Lincoln's presidential leadership must be seen as a series of interlocking stories. In the end, the contributors collectively remind readers that the Lincoln enshrined as the 'Great Emancipator' and 'savior of the Union' was in life and practices, a work-in-progress.