Lincoln and His Generals by T. Harry Williams Essay

1500 Words6 Pages
Lincoln and His Generals by T. Harry Williams Harry T. Williams was born on May 19, 1909. When in college, he was encouraged by a professor to study history. This professor's main interest was the Civil War era and had a great effect on Williams. He attended Platteville State Teachers College (later Wisconsin State University at Platteville) where he received a B.Ed in 1931. Williams continued education into graduate school was mainly due to the lack of work during the Great Depression. He went on to earn a Ph.M. in 1932, and Ph.D. in 1937, from the University of Wisconsin (Dawson 431). Lincoln and His Generals was the breakthrough book for Williams who had only written one book previously. This book provided him with many national…show more content…
When Lincoln interacted with Scott, he showed a deference for Scott’s age and knowledge. Thus allowing Scott to share his skills, this humility was shored by General McClellan. Lincoln later changes his approach towards McClellan, trying to boost his confidence and courage. Williams continually shows McClellan as an egotist, who eventually replaced Scott as General in chief. McClellan is depicted as unsure, indecisive, self-centered and fearful of declaring war. Lincoln continually defends McClellan but is not afraid of tactfully sending criticism his way. One could easily be lead to believe that Lincoln was more of a placator. Williams shows us that Lincoln never hesitated in making difficult decisions based on results. Lincoln’s people skills are easily ascertained in Williams writings. Lincoln seems keen at applying pressure as well as giving his generals a free hand when necessary. Williams shows an interesting side of Lincoln’s patience that wears thin when there are no early victories and from the lack of aggressiveness on the Union side. Williams shows a gradual transformation on Lincoln’s selection process. Initially each general was selected on characteristics such as battle experience and political backing. As the enemy holds out and there is inaction, Lincoln starts to doubt the ability of his generals and starts to seek generals who can win without excuses. Williams captures the pressures that are placed
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