Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The parallels between Lincoln and Agustus

I had a really weird thought. There are strong parallels between Caesar Augustus and Abraham Lincoln.
  • Both achieved lasting fame by leading the winning side in a civil war, and by seeing generosity to losers in that war as good policy
  • Both came to power unexpectedly, both as the result of coalitions representing only minorities of their polities
  • Both grew in jobs that neither understood fully when they started, both making serious errors in early days, and both becoming great on the job
  • Both were outsiders by birth
  • Both grew up in slave societies
  • Both ruled countries with core populations of similar sizes, and both planned for the vast expansion of their nations after their civil wars, processes that would require conquering peripheral tribal peoples and building out the transportation and communications infrastructure
  • Both were fortunate in their final choices of generals (Agrippa and Grant), in the strengths of their military establishments and in the economic system that supported their wars
  • Both men became hard to perceive behind the myths that grew around them.

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