The best way to resolve objectively the question of whether or not Lincoln and Davis inspired trust, loyalty, and respect is to study systematically the opinions of selected followers, preferably those who worked with them official capacities at different times during the course of the war.
The South's situation was different, said President Davis; "I think there is no foundation for the presumption of moral change."(10) Jefferson Davis took the stand that maintaining Southern slavery was in the best interest of black people, and was the only moral option.
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Political success on the issue of slavery required political moderation disdained by the abolitionists. Lincoln was not a protester; he was a politician interested in having his views become legislation. Historian William E. Gienapp wrote that “reasonable and thoughtful party spokesmen, most notably Seward and Lincoln, who were by the end of the decade the party’s two most prominent leaders, presented a much more restrained point of view. While both men cautiously suggest the existence of a conspiracy to extend slavery, they generally avoided the word; instead, they spoke loosely of a plan, design, or preconcert, or used the metaphor of coordinated efforts (Lincoln’s reference to the building of a platform in which various Democratic leaders each contribute a precut piece, all of which fit perfectly together, is well known). As leaders of the moderates, always the largest group in the party, what Seward and Lincoln emphasized, and what historians have unduly slighted, was the tendency of events. What direction, they asked in great earnestness was the nation headed? What would a reasonable man conclude was the probably outcome of the crisis.”102
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Silver, "when war weariness caused the people to hesitate and falter, the men of God boldly attempted to sustain and strengthen civilian tenacity by resort to the use of atrocity stories and fear techniques."(19) In light of Silver's findings that "there is overwhelming evidence that preachers as a whole retained a higher degree of morale than they were able to instill in their parishioners," and the fact that Southern ministers had effectively supported slavery for decades prior to the war, Davis' inaction on the part of religious leadership may have been a serious blunder.(20) Lincoln's use of religious leaders to reinforce his policies during the war stands in sharp contrast to Davis's refusal to do so.
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Lincoln first introduced the idea of the Emancipation Proclamation at a cabinet meeting and subsequently explained he did so as a result of a "solemn vow" to his "Maker."(30) He knew it would still be a controversial, and he was prepared to use a combination of transformational and what are today called "transactional" leadership skills to gain support.
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As a result of this combination of transformational and transactional leadership, most of the North supported the Emancipation Proclamation, and later the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution freeing all slaves, when Lincoln pushed it through Congress.
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Demonstrating his transformational leadership skills in appealing to the morals of the people, Lincoln spoke inspiring words in his December, 1862 annual message to Congress: "In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free - honorable alike in what we give and what we preserve.