Education is the mother of leadership

Wendell Lewis Willkie was an American lawyer and corporate executive, and the 1940 Republican nominee for President. Willkie appealed to many convention delegates as the Republican field’s only interventionist: although the U.S. remained neutral prior to Pearl Harbor, he favored greater U.S. involvement in World War II to support Britain and other Allies. His Democratic opponent, incumbent President Franklin D. Roosevelt, won the 1940 election with about 55% of the popular vote and took the electoral college vote by a wide margin.

After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Willkie offered his full support to Roosevelt. Willkie’s mission was to be Roosevelt’s personal representative, “demonstrating American unity, gathering information, and discussing with key heads of state plans for the postwar future”. After leaving the U.S. on August 26, Willkie’s first stop was in North Africa, where he met General Montgomery and toured the front at El Alamein. In Beirut, he stayed with General de Gaulle, leader of the Free French. In Jerusalem, Willkie met with Jews and Arabs, told the British rulers of Palestine that both peoples should be brought into the government, and he later wrote that the conflict there was so ancient, it was unrealistic to think that it could “be solved by good will and simple honesty” Willkie had been moved to add the Soviet Union to his itinerary when three Western reporters there urged him by telegram to do so There, he met with Stalin, and upon his return he advocated more liberal Lend-Lease terms for the USSR. In China, Willkie was hosted by Chiang Kai-shek and was fascinated by Madame Chiang. Willkie was taken to the front to observe the Chinese military forces in their fight against the Japanese, and he spoke out against colonialism, in China and elsewhere. His statements were reported widely in Britain, angering Churchill, who responded by saying, “We mean to hold our own. I have not become the King’s First Minister to preside over the liquidation of the British Empire.

Though he never became President, he it has been said he won something much more important: a lasting place in American history. Along with Henry Clay, William Jennings Bryan, and Hubert Humphrey, he was the also-ran who would be long remembered. “He was a born leader,” wrote historian Allan Nevins, “and he stepped to leadership at just the moment when the world needed him.” Shortly before his death, Willkie told a friend, “If I could write my own epitaph and if I had to choose between saying, ‘Here lies an unimportant President’, or, ‘Here lies one who contributed to saving freedom at a moment of great peril’, I would prefer the latter.”

During his 1940 campaign, Willkie had pledged to integrate the civil service and armed forces, and proudly pointed to what he deemed the strongest civil rights plank in history in the Republican platform. He also promised to end racial segregation in Washington, D.C.

Harry S. Truman

“Men make history and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better.”

Harry S. Truman was an American statesman who served as the 33rd President of the United States (1945–1953), taking the office upon the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt. A World War I veteran, he assumed the presidency during the waning months of World War II and the beginning of the Cold War. He is known for implementing the Marshall Plan to rebuild the economy of Western Europe, the establishment of the Truman Doctrine and NATO against Soviet and Chinese communism, and for intervening in the Korean War.

After serving as a United States Senator from Missouri (1935–45) and briefly as Vice President (1945), he succeeded to the presidency on April 12, 1945, upon the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt. Germany surrendered on Truman’s 61st birthday, just a few weeks after he assumed the presidency, but the war with Imperial Japan raged on and was expected to last at least another year.

Truman presided over an unexpected surge in economic prosperity as America sought readjustment after long years of depression and war. His presidency was a turning point in foreign affairs, as the United States engaged in an internationalist foreign policy and renounced isolationism. Truman helped found the United Nations in 1945.

Swift Rewards, Slow Punishments

While not a traditional leader per-se, Ovid’s contribution to thought and literature are still felt today all the way back from ancient Greece. His insights into human nature are revealed through his poetry, which often took up the subject of kings and gods.

Of leadership Ovid had to say: a ruler should be slow to punish and quick to reward.

Ovid was a Roman poet who lived during the reign of Augustus. He was a contemporary of the older Virgil and Horace, with whom he is often ranked as one of the three canonical poets of Latin literature. The Imperial scholar Quintilian considered him the last of the Latin love elegists. He enjoyed enormous popularity, but, in one of the mysteries of literary history, was sent by Augustus into exile in a remote province on the Black Sea, where he remained until his death. Ovid himself attributes his exile to carmen et error, “a poem and a mistake”, but his discretion in discussing the causes has resulted in much speculation among scholars.

The first major Roman poet to begin his career during the reign of Augustus, Ovid is today best known for the Metamorphoses, a 15-book continuous mythological narrative written in the meter of epic, and for works in elegiac couplets such as Ars Amatoria (“The Art of Love”) and Fasti. His poetry was much imitated during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, and greatly influenced Western art and literature. The Metamorphoses remains one of the most important sources of classical mythology.

Electoral College

When we talk about leaders, the most popular one at the moment to us is our own president. Recently there was an election and then a big push by the losing team for the Electoral College votes to overturn the votes. So the Victor crew wanted to know a little more about what the Electoral College is all about. For this we turn to CGP Grey on YouTube to see how he explains it.

Here is his first video on How the Electoral College Works:

Here is the second part video called The Trouble with the Electoral College

He has an updated video of the second part that was uploaded just last month:

Here is some further reading:

Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens is known for his many novels. Whether or not you have read them all, you most likely have come across or heard some of his many writings. Some of his more popular writings were The Pickwick Papers, Oliver Twist, Great Expectations, A Christmas Carol, David Copperfield, A Tale of Two Cities.

He lived from February 1812 to June 1870. He left school young to work in a factory when his father went to debtor’s prison. His first writing was The Pickwick Papers which was serialized, a common practice at one time. This also allowed him to evaluate his audience’s reaction and modify based on feedback. Some of his life experiences were used in his stories – people and places. His most autobiographical novel was David Copperfield.

He visited the United States and Canada. In his second visit, delayed by the Civil War, he met with such giants as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. He died in 1870 after a stroke.

No matter how you have heard of Charles Dickens, almost everyone has seen or heard A Christmas Carol in some form. There have been many renditions of this story in plays and movies.

You can see a more comprehensive outline of his life here.

Davy Crockett

The Victor crew wanted to learn more about Davy Crockett. Here is what we found:

Born David de Crocketagne, born in 1786 in Kentucky, Davy Crockett is best known for fighting at the Alamo.

He grew up in Tennessee and had a reputation for hunting and story-telling. He married Polly Finley in 1806. They had three children together: John Wesley Crockett who became a US Congressman, William Finley Crockett, and Margaret Finley Crockett. Polly died in 1815. He married the widow Elizabeth Patton who had her own children: Margaret Ann and George. Together they had Robert Patton, Rebecca Elvira, and Matilda.

He became a colonel in the militia of Lawrence County, TN in 1818, and elected to state legislature in 1821. In 1825 he was elected to U.S. Congress. He opposed President Andrew Jackson and the Indian Removal Act.

In 1835, Crockett moved his family to Little Rock, Arkansas. He went to Texas in early 1836. He enrolled as a volunteer and set out for the Rio Grande under the Provisional Government of Texas. He went to the Alamo in San Antonio and found the Mexican soldiers had initiated a siege. The siege went from February 23 to March 6. When Crockett paused briefly in the chapel to pray, Mexican soldiers breached the walls of the Alamo complex. This Battle of the Alamo lasted less than 90 minutes. Davy Crockett was 49 years old when he died.

You might remember this theme song: