SYNTHESIS PAPER #8: LINCOLN AND KING 3avenue for connection and an opportunity to build upon a pre-existing shared vision.
Transformational leaders “attempt to r
aise the consciousness in individuals and to getthem to transcend their own self-
interests for the sake of others” (Northouse, 2009, pp. 185).
Lincoln and King understood that the realization of their radical vision would not be possiblewithout deeply felt commitment and sacrifice. They served as examples by espousingfaithfulness and dedication to the cause. Lincoln and King also realized that this was not enough;they also had to be charismatic in order to unite and ignite the populace. Charismatic leaders tend
to “articulate ideological goals that have moral overtones” (Northouse, pp. 174). Lincoln and
King connected their Christian faith to their vision and goals; their religion served as a moralbasis for their actions. Yet, their words have a universal appeal; the intensity of their impact isnot exclusive to Christian believers. Their ability to bring people together, despite differences inreligion and other matters, was one of the factors of their success.Lincoln and King both acknowledged the past and pointed toward a better future.Although their visions were holistic, they realized that individuals could take specific actions,and make specific changes,
as a step toward their dream. Both emphasized the need forthose actions to be based
on love rather than revenge: “with malice toward none; with charity for all” (Lincoln, 1865). King echoed Lincoln's sentiment; “let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred” (King, 1963). Lincoln and K
ing weregentle in their approach to change yet powerful in their vision, commitment, and ability toengage and inspire others. The work they began is still underway in America and around theworld; modern social change leaders can learn to be more effective by following their exampleand connecting rather than dividing, loving rather than hating, and instilling hope rather than