Pappas, Jr., Theodore George
Doctor of Education, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, August (2011)
Just four days after being ordered to command of the Union’s Army of the Potomac, George Gordon Meade defeated Robert E. Lee at the Battle of Gettysburg, a critical victory in the war. Nevertheless, he has been unjustly maligned, even though he rose to a high rank in spite of obstacles and controversy. Under constant attack and criticism by certain members of Congress and the press, Meade’s reputation was so severely damaged that it still has not recovered in spite of recent research that largely vindicates Meade.
The literature has focused on Meade’s military decisions and ignores his leadership. To analyze and evaluate Meade’s leadership as a commander, this case study derived a theoretical position from the Good Work Research Product, described by Gardner, Csikszentmihali, & Damon (2001) in Good Work: Where Excellence and Ethics Meet. Guided by their methodology, this study describes Meade’s Civil War experience as he viewed it and reveals an extremely competent, ethical commander who suffered great emotional and psychological stress, more from the treatment of his superiors than from the strain of war.