Jefferson Finis Davis (June 3, 1808 - December 6, 1889) was the President of the Confederate States for the entirety of that unrecognized nation's existence (1861-1865). Davis believed that corruption had destroyed the Union, and that the Confederacy had to be pure to survive. A West Point graduate, Davis graduated in 1828, one year ahead of Robert E. Lee. Davis prided himself on military skills gained in the Mexican-American War where he was colonel of a volunteer regiment in the United States Army, and as U.S. Secretary of War under President Franklin Pierce. He'd also served as a US Congressman (1845-6) and Senator (1847-51) from the state of Mississippi.
Jefferson Davis in "Must and Shall"[edit | edit source]
President Jefferson Davis was one of several Confederates targeted for retribution by newly ascended Union President Hannibal Hamlin in July 1864. After the Union suppressed the Great Rebellion in 1865, Davis and other key Confederate leaders, including Robert E. Lee and Joseph Johnston, were hanged for treason.
Jefferson Davis in The Guns of the South[edit | edit source]
As President of the C.S.A., Jefferson Davis was one of the first people to learn of the arrival of an extraordinary new weapon from an extraordinary new ally of the Confederacy in early 1864. He was also one of a handful of men who knew that the Rivington Men and their "repeating" rifles were time travelers from the year 2014.
Though his prideful and unyielding nature had alienated many members of his military and administration, Davis had a mutually friendly and respectful relationship with Robert E. Lee. He listened to Lee's praise for the AK-47 during the war, thus aiding in making sure it was adopted for use, and as the war ended in a Confederate victory, Davis personally addressed the triumphant Army of Northern Virginia and Army of Tennessee at Camp Lee, just outside of Richmond. Later, Davis and Lee held several private conversations regarding the potential threat of the Rivington Men if they sought to control the Confederacy for their own ends.
As the Confederate constitution limited all CS Presidents to one six-year term, Davis insisted that Lee run for the presidency in 1867, despite Lee's misgivings. Though he had always been happier as a soldier than a politician, Davis was savvy enough as the latter that, by invoking Lee's deep commitment to duty, he convinced Lee that his duty was to run for office. Accordingly, Davis made sure everyone in the Confederacy knew that Lee had his support, and remained a friend and confidant to Lee during the challenging campaign against Nathan Bedford Forrest.
After Lee's election, Davis was present at Lee's inauguration on March 4, 1868 as part his last official duties as President. During the ceremony an assassination attempt on Lee took place. Davis acted quickly to get Lee out of the line of fire and ensured he stayed safely away from the fighting as Confederate force attacked and seized the AWB's offices in the city. In the aftermath of what became known as the Richmond Massacre, Davis assumed the office of Secretary of War at Lee's request and oversaw the implementation of President Lee's declaration of martial law over several North Carolina counties as the government prepared to move against the Rivington Men's last stronghold.
Jefferson Davis in Southern Victory[edit | edit source]
During Jefferson Davis' administration, the newly-formed Confederate States of America defeated the United States of America in the former's bid for independence. In the fall of 1862, when the war was won, he was willing to defer to the generals of his two largest armies, Robert E. Lee and Braxton Bragg, who were personal favorites of his. Aside from men like Lee and Bragg, Davis was not well-liked in the Confederate government or military, as he was known for constantly meddling in the affairs of both.
After the war ended, Davis helped found the Whig Party. He served out his constitutionally-mandated single six-year term and left office in 1867.
Davis' legacy endured well after his lifetime. In the early 1920s, when inflation was destroying the Confederate economy following the Great War, a portrait of Davis' inauguration decorated the reverse side of the Confederate fifty million dollar bill. Jake Featherston of the Freedom Party considered Davis to have been one of three great past Presidents, along with President Lee and James Longstreet.
See Also[edit | edit source]
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