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Doris Kearns Goodwin on Learning from Past Presidents

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Free Resource (#894) - Sept. 8th, 2009
Today's Free Resource

Doris Kearns Goodwin on Learning from Past Presidents


In this short lecture provided by TED Talks, Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer and historian Doris Kearns Goodwin explores what we can learn about life from the lives of the Great Presidents. In trying to balance work, love, and play, we see how the ambitious Lincoln was always trying to find respite in Shakespeare, and how Lyndon Johnson found it difficult adjusting to family life after the fast pace of the Presidency. Viewed through the prism of the Presidents, Goodwin demonstrates that even our most celebrated leaders had a hard time sustaining a balanced, happy life. This talk is available on streaming video and MP3 download.

Doris Kearns Goodwin on Learning from Past Presidents

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Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln

On May 18, 1860, William H. Seward, Salmon P. Chase, Edward Bates, and Abraham Lincoln waited in their hometowns for the results from the Republican National Convention in Chicago. When Lincoln emerged as the victor, his rivals were dismayed and angry.

Throughout the turbulent 1850s, each had energetically sought the presidency as the conflict over slavery was leading inexorably to secession and civil war. That Lincoln succeeded was the result of a character that had been forged by life experiences that raised him above his more privileged and accomplished rivals. He won because hepossessed an extraordinary ability to put himself in the place of other men, to experience what they were feeling, to understand their motives and desires.

This capacity enabled President Lincoln to bring his disgruntled opponents together, create the most unusual cabinet in history, and marshal their talents to preserve the Union and win the war.

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