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Washington vs Lincoln — Who’s the Better President?

Patrick Nelson, February 18, 2019

Washington and Lincoln

Isn’t that kind of like asking, “Which do you prefer — your right arm or your left?”
President’s Day is a celebration of both leaders’ birthdays. But why just them? There are 43 other presidents we can celebrate. 
Maybe because both demonstrated admirable leadership during times of great division in our nation. One, the founder of our Republic. The other? The one who saved it.
Washington, the father of our country and arguably the most important figure in American history, helped lead the Continental Army to victory during the Revolutionary War. Lincoln led a broken nation during a time of civil war and the measures he enacted helped our country abolish slavery. I believe both of these men are some of the best leaders our country ever had because they:

  • Exercised high levels of composure while leading under extreme pressure, as noted numerous times throughout history.
  • Led not through control, but by influence. Washington and his ability to motivate troops during the difficult winter at Valley Forge, and Lincoln’s ability to articulate a message that inspired many to pick up arms in defense of a higher purpose.
  • Placed the well-being of others before their own. They both demonstrated tremendous amounts of servant leader qualities that saw them leading by example and placing the needs of others before their own.

I recognize most of us aren’t called to lead in scenarios where the stakes are so incredibly high. Yet, we can use their examples as inspiration on how to brave leadership when we’re feeling challenged, pressure, and difficult stress.  
It’s easy to be a leader when things are going great. The true test of a leader is their actions under pressure.

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