Custer’s Last Stand: The defeat of Colonel George A. Custer and his cavalry detachment by a large force of Native Americans at the Battle of the Little Bighorn in 1876.
It was Franklin Roosevelt who changed the game.
Since FDR, our Presidents have more or less taken on the appearance of being the CEO for a large corporation. Now granted, we’ve had some rotten pickles in the barrel.
But generally speaking, the job of President of the United States changed as of Franklin Roosevelt—because he found himself in a situation where for the second time, like the Civil War, our country was on the verge of collapse—this time by poverty.
Stability was needed.
A bit of tenderness.
And certainly a vision for all the people.
I share this with you because before President Roosevelt, the men who served in the executive office were a rag-tag mixture of renegades, scoundrels, bookworms and inefficient scholars.
Into such an atmosphere arrived a young gent named George Armstrong Custer.
He came in a season when being overbearing, irreverent and unable to take orders was helpful. We were in the middle of a war and the country was desperately in need of heroes to step out of the shadows and defeat the Confederacy.
Born in Monroe, Michigan, General Custer was a study in flamboyance and narcissism.
Known for his bravery—which by the end of his life had exposed itself as foolhardiness—he rose to the rank of General, where he believed that from his military might, he could easily run for President and win.
His disregard for the Native Americans was certainly bigoted, if not fringing on genocidal.
But because George Armstrong Custer was unable to listen to anyone else’s counsel or follow any advice but his own, he eventually ran up against a battle which was far beyond his control.
He was soundly defeated and killed when many tribes united at the Little Big Horn under the spiritual guidance of Sitting Bull and the field command of Crazy Horse.
There is only one thing you can learn from General Custer:
Believing you can do something may be considered a virtue, but it rarely, by itself, will take you to the finish line—unless by finish line, you mean you’re finished.