Abraham Lincoln, 1858

William Judkins Thomson

National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

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“I never saw a more dignified face. . . "

German sociologist Max Weber defined a charismatic leader as someone “endowed with supernatural, superhuman, or . . . exceptional . . . qualities.”


Lincoln had that elusive quality of charisma, which caused Americans to look beyond appearance to the essence of the man himself. The wit and social commentator David Ross Locke met Lincoln and said,  “I never saw a more thoughtful face. I never saw a more dignified face.”

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