Lincoln, Leadership & Moral Compromise

Abraham Lincoln was a transcendently great American president.  Yet Steven Spielberg’s recently released film Lincoln depicts him as a practitioner of political chicanery and manipulation.  Thus, the movie poses one of the central problems of politics: Must an individual be calculating and deceitful in order to be a great leader?  The question has occasioned some insightful commentary by writers like David Brooks, but perhaps the heart of the matter is best illuminated by the portrait of the patriarch Jacob in this week’s Torah portion, Vayishlah. 

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