4 examples of extraordinary presidential leadership


There is no better way to celebrate our Presidents around Presidents Day than by remembering some of their extraordinary acts of courage.

Here are four examples highlighting where past presidents have demonstrated clear leadership:

George washington. When King George III asked What General Washington would do after leading the Colonial Army to victory, the target of his conversation replied, “They say he will return to his farm.”

“If he does this,” said King George, “he will be the greatest man in the world.” And yet he gave up the command. There was no model for the role of the president when Washington was elected. He could have seen himself as a cleric charged with enforcing the laws of Congress, some sort of pollster following the whims of states – or even a king.

His tenure as president can certainly be judged by how he restored our financial footing, or how he led our nation through the pains of growth. But the true measure of his character lies in the way he executed the words of King George III, voluntarily withdrawing not only from command of the colonial army, but from what would become the most powerful office in the world. .

Washington set a precedent for those who followed in many ways, and perhaps the biggest way it did was its willingness to go against convention and cede power after just two. mandates.

Abraham Lincoln. President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation has come under attack from all quarters. National newspapers decried him as “a monstrous usurpation, a criminal act and a national suicide act. Desertions of disgusted Union soldiers have risen in the thousands, and a New York Herald correspondent wrote: “The army is dissatisfied and the air is charged with revolution.[.]”

Riots broke out in New York, the largest of its kind at that time in American history. Seeing no slaves freed, even the abolitionists were embittered by the powerlessness of the proclamation. Lincoln was isolated and alone, yet he regarded, and our nation remembers, the Emancipation Proclamation as his greatest act as President. He not only put his comfort and his reputation at risk; he would ultimately sacrifice his life in his movement to improve our nation.

Harry S. Truman. After North Korea’s invasion of the South in 1950, General Douglas MacArthur was placed in command of the force to retake the peninsula. He was already an American icon, and as his forces pushed the North Koreans back to the Chinese border, his legend grew.

The advance of the Allies dragged China into the conflict, and as President Harry Truman grew worried about the escalation of the war, he rejected MacArthur’s demands to expand his campaign in China. Unyielding in his stance, MacArthur took his case directly to Congress and expressed his views openly to the press.

Even in the face of MacArthur’s success and universal popularity, Truman relieved him of his command in April 1951. Truman’s actions prevented the conflict from spreading, reaffirmed his control over the military, and bolstered the force. of the Commander-in-Chief for subsequent Presidents.

Ronald reagan. On August 3, 1981, more than 13,000 air traffic controllers went on strike across the United States. 7,000 flights cancellations from across the country.

President Ronald Reagan declared the strike illegal and threatened to fire inspectors who do not return to work within 48 hours. Removing controllers would inevitably hamper air travel, and advisers closest to Reagan feared a major air disaster could occur if the president maintained his red line. Two days later, he dismissed 11,000 striking air traffic controllers.

The Federal Aviation Administration’s contingency plan restored airline operations, but it will be several months before air travel returns to pre-strike levels. As unpopular as it is, by going against his staff’s advice and conventional wisdom, Reagan reaffirmed his intention to uphold the law and strengthened America’s hand in everything from public discourse to our transactions. with the Soviet Union.


Kevin E. Boling

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