Regaining “the Leadership of Our Own Revolution”

“There is no question facing America more important than whether we can successfully regain the leadership of our own revolution.”
Sargent Shriver |Chicago, IL| June 25, 1963

We’ve been looking through Sargent Shriver’s statements about leadership today. Sarge believed that leadership was strongly connected to service. It’s not a coincidence that he often spoke about leadership in relation to the Peace Corps, as he did in this week’s speech, the Address Before the Chicago Chapter of the Federal Bar Association. In his own leadership and in mentoring other leaders, he stressed that leaders not be authoritarian, but that they should work to understand the needs of others, to empower others on their own terms. Leadership should be taken on not as a means of accumulating power, but as a way of achieving the goals of the collective one is leading.

In addition, Sarge stressed that the United States, through its very existence, aspired to spiritual leadership. He said: “The American Revolution began as a unique movement as revolutions went in the 18th century. Its basic issues were not material but spiritual. As Jefferson perceived and Lincoln proclaimed, it was to be a revolution unbounded by geographical limitations --- it declared the spiritual rights of all men, everywhere.” The idea that all people had the right to liberty and justice was one that, Sarge argued, has “spread throughout the world” in the years since America’s founding.

We invite you to reflect on a concept of leadership that embraces service and that strives for liberty and justice for all citizens. Let’s demand this type of leadership of our political leaders, of our community leaders, and of each other, in whatever leadership role we take on.

Peace requires the simple but powerful recognition that what we have in common as human beings is more important and crucial than what divides us.
Sargent Shriver
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