Jefferson Davis was born on June 3, 1808, in Christian (now Todd) County, Kentucky, and educated at Transylvania University, Lexington, Kentucky.
During the War
Davis failed to raise sufficient money to fight the American Civil War and could not obtain recognition and help for the Confederacy from foreign governments. He was in constant conflict with extreme exponents of the doctrine of states' rights, and his attempts to have high military officers appointed by the president were opposed by the governors of the states. The judges of state courts constantly interfered in military matters through judicial decisions.
Davis was nevertheless responsible for the raising of the formidable Confederate armies, the notable appointment of General Robert E. Lee as commander of the Army of Virginia, and the encouragement of industrial enterprise throughout the South. His zeal, energy, and faith in the cause of the South were a source of much of the tenacity with which the Confederacy fought the Civil War. Even in 1865 Davis still hoped the South would be able to achieve its independence, but at last he realized defeat was imminent and fled from Richmond.
On May 10, 1865, federal troops captured him at Irwinville, Georgia. From 1865 to 1867 he was imprisoned at Fortress Monroe, Virginia. Davis was indicted for treason in 1866 but the next year was released on a bond of $100,000 signed by the American newspaper publisher Horace Greeley and other influential Northerners. In 1868 the federal government dropped the case against him.
From 1870 to 1878 he engaged in a number of unsuccessful business enterprises; and from 1878 until his death in New Orleans, on December 6, 1889, he lived near Biloxi, Mississippi. His grave is in Richmond, Virginia. He wrote The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government (1881).
The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government
Jefferson Davis' point of view is essential to understanding the causes of the Civil War.
The Beginning and the End: The Civil War Story of Federal Surrenders Before Fort Sumter and Confederate Surrenders After Appomatox
Surrenders continued for months after Appomattox. The background of Johnston's surrender in North Carolina, Taylor's in Alabama , Jones's in Florida, the same day that Davis was captured—and Kirby-Smith's, west of the Mississippi
Why Confederate Fought
Why Confederates Fought: Family and Nation in Civil War Virginia
The Southern view of slavery as essential to the Southern economy is reiterated. Slavery was the great Southern irony, viewed as a foundation of white liberty. From that perspective, the Confederate soldier's choice was simply victory or death
Political Culture and Secession in Mississippi: Masculinity, Honor, and the Antiparty Tradition, 1830-60
A rich new perspective on the events leading up to the Civil War and will prove an invaluable tool for understanding the central crisis in American politics.
Robert E Lee CSA
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Jefferson Davis: Unconquerable Heart Shades of Blue and Gray
Jefferson Davis in a different light - as an American patriot and a human being. In the passions that colour anything dealing with the War of Northern Aggression, it is sometimes difficult to remember that everyone involved had a life before that tragic conflict. I can't help but be grateful for the way in which Mrs. Allen brought that point home in her book. While I will still take issue with many of his wartime decisions, I can't help but be proud that our nation produced a man like Jefferson Davis
No scholar can fail to appreciate Allen's exhaustive research,, nor any layman fail to be amazed at her mass of fact and significant detail
Ricmond Virginia Views
London News 1861
"Davis, Jefferson," Microsoft (R) Encarta. Copyright (c) 1994 Microsoft Corporation.
Copyright (c) 1994 Funk & Wagnall's Corporation.
"Davis, Jefferson," Comptons Encylopedia
Library of Congress
London Illustriated News
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