Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, is a biographical portrait of Abraham Lincoln and some of the men who served on his Cabinet from 1861-1865. This book was adapted by Stephen Spielberg for film, the screenplay for which was written by Tony Kushner, a lauded playwright.
Analyzed in this biography is Lincoln on the path to abolish slavery and to win the Civil War. His attempts to delegate between conflicting political personalities and factions are detailed. A political and managerial virtuoso, when Lincoln emerged the winner of the presidential nomination of the Republican National Convention in Chicago, his rivals for that victory soon became his team, three of them serving as his Cabinet members during the tumultuous years leading to the civil war. At this point, secession seemed imminent because of the conflict over slavery.
Lincoln's character--formed by humbling life experience that had elevated him in the eyes of the public above the privilege and accomplishment of other statesmen--is the same character that had developed a tremendous capacity for empathy. His empathetic genius was his ability to put himself in the place of others, to grasp their motives and desires, and to experience what they were feeling; this would help him defuse much bitterness among his opponents, and would help them all preserve the United States of America.
Doris Kearns Goodwin, born in 1943, is a biographer, historian, and political commentator (frequently on Meet the Press and a regular guest on Charlie Rose). She was awarded the Pulitzer prize for History for her biography on Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. She has also written about Lyndon Johnson, and the Kennedys. She consulted Ken Burns on his documentary, Baseball and with Lyndon Johnson on his memoirs (which drew from many of her conversations with him as a young intern in his presidential administration). She became Johnson's assistant, even after he learned about a publication in The New Republic where she had laid out a scenario for his impeachment over his conduct during the Vietnam War.
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. Download and start listening now!