Abraham Lincoln is considered to be one of our most effective presidents. He managed to win the Civil War and keep a divided country together, no small feat. He was able to do this in part because he had an amazing team, one of the strongest cabinets in history. Ironically, most of the people on his team didn't really like each other—or him. In fact, when he formed his cabinet, he surprised many people, appointing his four fiercest rivals for the presidency. These were people who not only didn't like Lincoln, they basically thought he was an idiot, that he was seriously under-qualified for the job. But in appointing them to the highest positions in his cabinet, he was able to bring together the men who represented the different factions that threatened to further divide the United States, and unite all of them around one vision: "a new birth of freedom." He ensured that everyone on his team followed his rules — most importantly, to rise above petty rivalries and disagreements — and in the end, they achieved the "impossible" and won the war.Isn't that amazing?
This trope is specific to Doris Goodwin; it "brands" her view of the AL presidency. To roll it out in an essay on management (or whatnot) without crediting her suggests her "team" thoughts have become common knowledge. Everybody "knows" that Lincoln forged a brilliant team! By now, perhaps every schoolchild in America learns it. When the Lincoln movie comes out, we may get more of the same.
The behavior of Lincoln scholars on the release of Team of Rivals was utterly disgraceful. They silently rolled over and now we have this nonsense handed to us in the popular culture.
Matthew Pinsker summed things up when he wrote:
Lincoln's Cabinet was no team. His rivals proved to be uneven as subordinates. Some were capable despite their personal disloyalty, yet others were simply disastrous.Here are some posts you may enjoy reading: Bates / Chase / Welles / Stanton.