David Adler

A President for the Ages: Lessons from Lincoln’s Presidency

When Lincoln dies, one of his cabinet members remarked, “Now he belongs to the Ages.” And so he does. Lincoln’s stature as one of America’s greatest presidents–the president who freed the slaves, won the Civil War and preserved the Union–has inspired Americans of every stripe and color to draw lessons from his presidency. Some contend that his years in office represent a model of virtually unlimited executive authority in times of crisis. Others have argued that his presidency represents a model of executive leadership that counsels moderation, restraint and the rule of law. This talk explores Lincoln’s views about presidential power and the relevance of his presidency for the challenges that confront America as it attempts to balance security concerns with constitutional government in an Age of Terrorism.