In national polling among presidential historians (as well as among the general public), Abraham Lincoln consistently ranks in the top two greatest presidents in American history. As his leadership preserved the Union during its most pressing hour, this praise is well deserved. But how did Lincoln become such a good leader? Was he simply born that way or was it something he learned?
My guest today is Michael Gerhardt is the Samuel Ashe Distinguished Professor of Constitutional Law at the University of North Carolina School of Law. One of the nation's most respected authorities on the Constitution, Michael has been called upon to testify before both chambers of Congress to offer his expertise on constitutional issues, including the impeachment proceedings for Presidents Bill Clinton and Donald Trump, as well as during the nomination hearings for several Supreme Court Justices. He is the author of the brand new book "Lincoln's Mentors: The Education of a Leader" in which he argues that it was Lincoln's dispassionate ability to learn from other people in his life that built him into the great president history remembers today. In this episode, Michael and I walk through five prominent figures from Abraham Lincoln's life, ranging from political figures to personal friends, whom Lincoln seemed to learn a great deal from and allowed to influence his leadership style.