Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Jefferson Davis Appointed President

Davis as President
After forming the Confederate States of America and adopting a Constitution, the convention in Montogermy, Alabama needed to choose a man as president of the new nation. On February 9th, 1861 they chose Jefferson Davis.

Jefferson Davis was born on June 3rd, 1808. He attended West Point and became a soldier. He was a military hero in the Mexican American War and later became the American Secretary of State. He served as a representative and senator in the US Congress from Missisippi. When Mississippi seceded he followed his state and went south. He gave a farewell address to the Senate, which you can read here, in which he said:
Then, Senators, we recur to the compact which binds us together; we recur to the principles upon which our Government was founded; and when you deny them, and when you deny to us the right to withdraw from a Government which thus perverted threatens to be destructive of our rights, we but tread in the path of our fathers when we proclaim our independence, and take the hazard. This is done not in hostility to others, not to injure any section of the country, not even for our own pecuniary benefit; but from the high and solemn motive of defending and protecting the rights we inherited, and which it is our sacred duty to transmit unshorn to our children.
He was one of the highest military and political leaders in the South at the time and was a qualified cantidate for the office. Personally he expected to be a military commander and was already head of the troops from Mississippi.

As president, Davis had both good and bad qualities. Ever since the Civil War people have claimed that his mistakes caused the South to loose the war. While he did make mistakes, he was fighting on the losing side and it was not his fault that the war was lost. He had problems in dealing with certain factions in the South, which included his vice president, Alexander Stephens. As the leader of the Confederate forces, he had strong friends and strong enemies. Some generals he loved and worked very well with, such as Robert E. Lee. Others' usefulness was hampered because he would not work with them.

After the war Davis was kept in prison for treason, and after his release he was a popluar figure throughout the South. He wrote several books defending the South and his own actions as its president. He died on December 6th, 1889. We will meet him again as the war progresses.

Alexander Stephens, his vice president


Seeker said...

One of the main things leading up to the Civil War was the "Southern Ultimatums" issued by Southern leaders in March of 1861.

These Five Southern Ultimatums were announced with great fanfare, at the time. Richmond newspapers reported them as "THE TRUE ISSUE" .

Newspapers in the North reported them too, with at least one NY newspaper suggesting that Lincoln and the North obey the Ultimatums to avoid a war.

All five of the Southern Ultimatums were about the spread of slavery -- by force. The first Ultimatum was that slavery MUST be spread in the "territories" -- by which they meant Kansas.

Kansas had just voted 98% to 2% to keep slaavery out forever.

Lincoln, of course, was not going to force slavery into Kansas for the amusement of the South. Incredibly, the Ultimatums themselves specifically stated that the US Congress must force slavery into the territories, AND the state legislators of the territories must enact pro slavery legislation.

The Ultimatums didn't stop there. All states in the US must "accept and respect" slavery, and NO state could enact it's own laws regarding slaves or escaped slaves, or blacks in general, even for within their OWN borders.

This is an astonishing and open repudiation of any pretext of "states rights"

Google Southern Ultimatums, and go read the Southern newspapers about them at the time.

Joshua Horn said...

I saw your website, and I think you have several major errors.

First of all the Southern States were not saying they would attack the North if they did not permit slavery. They were saying that if they wanted them to be part of the Union, they must allow it.

Second, you are making a lot of statements that you are not backing up with real research. Where did you get that Lee tortured his slaves? Or that 98% of Kansas voted against slavery? The numbers I saw were 2 to 1.

Also I think you are blowing these five points way out of proportion. Of course no textbooks talk about them. These were not a major document. They were one of many. As a start, you should look at the four declarations of why they seceded that several states wrote. You can find them here: http://sunsite.utk.edu/civil-war/reasons.html

George Purvis said...

"These were not a major document" Exactly right Josh.

I'll bet Seeker wet his pants when he found this article. To bad he never considered why no historian has put forth this document. One county in Virginia and it speaks for the entire Confederacy. Oh man, unbelievable.

George Purvis


Nice website well done. Great job.

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