“Right makes Might.” Abraham Lincoln

The Big Idea: School is often the first place where students occupy positions of authority where they are able to direct the efforts of others. Being a good leader and having influence are highly valued. The challenge is figuring out the best way to do it. Some think it’s all about having power and expecting others to obey it. Others lead by moral example. Leadership lessons cultivated at young ages carry into adulthood and form the basis for how to treat other people.

Claim: According to former president Abraham Lincoln, doing the right thing gives you the greatest influence over others. Dominating others to get what you want doesn’t have lasting impact.

Counterclaim: Power over others dictates what’s right. Being morally good doesn’t have lasting impact.

Essential Question: Is doing the right thing the best way to influence others?

Make a COPY of this Google form student assignment

Here’s the plan…

  1. Have students fill out the Google form assignment above to organize their thinking before the conversation. Edit the form as you wish and email it or post it for your students. (If you aren’t logged into a Gmail account, you might have to request access to the form)
  2. Review the Google spreadsheet of student responses that is automatically created. As you’re having the conversation, use the students’ prepared remarks as prompts to draw out their personal experiences.
  3. Evaluate by having them answer the essential question after the conversation.

Integration Idea: The Black Lives Matter Movement has emerged as a force for political change and fueled a national debate not only over racism and police brutality, but also about the best way to protest injustice.  The Abraham Lincoln conversation on leadership would give students a chance to grapple with whether persuasion through law and order or persuasion through argument and civil disobedience is the more effective way to lead society through hard times.


This resource on Abraham Lincoln comes from Teach Different where you can learn about a 3-Step method for making these conversations a routine.

Other posts you may like which use the same conversation method:

“Your silence will not protect you.” Audre Lorde

“The Supreme Art of War is to Subdue the Enemy without Fighting.” Sun Tzu

“The only thing I know is that I know nothing.” Socrates

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