Accession Number:



Managing the Civil-Military Relationship: A Study of Lincoln's Management of the Army of the Potomac Within the Context of Mission Command

Descriptive Note:

Technical Report

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US Army Command and General Staff College Fort Leavenworth United States

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The civil-military relationship that exists between the U.S. Army and the legislative and executive branches of government must maintain a foundation of shared understanding and trust in order to function in todays dynamic world. This study endeavors to provide a historical case study of President Lincoln and his leadership of the commanding generals of the Army of the Potomac in order to extrapolate a successful methodology applicable to todays civil-military relationship. This research draws a historical parallel through current U.S. Army mission command doctrinal language towards an understanding of how focusing effort through shared understanding can facilitate not only the issuance, but also the receipt of best military advice. President Lincoln utilized a combination of both personal and positional power to effect change when needed, and to develop a unity of vision toward both action and effort. Lincoln understood that there was a national relationship that must be fostered and developed with his military. Lincolns leadership of not only his Army of the Potomac but also his cabinet illuminate an example of what a unifying philosophy can provide to a system of balance that exists by design in the U.S. civil-military construct.

Subject Categories:

  • Administration and Management
  • Government and Political Science
  • Humanities and History
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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