Jefferson Davis

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An Analysis of Jefferson Davis
By: Blayden McLeod

History 131-2101
John D. Sulentic
September 3
Thesis Statement: Jefferson Davis was a very incompetent President and showed it by his policies and lack of action during the Civil War

Jefferson Davis was born June 3rd, 1808 on a small farm in southwestern Kentucky from his parents Samuel Davis and Jane Cook Davis. After spending most of his childhood life in the southern frontier of Mississippi, he decided to receive a quality education, mainly because of his brilliance and strong intelligence. He attended many schools before he went on to complete a four year term at West Point Military Academy which later appointed him a Second Lieutenant in 1828. Davis was then commissioned to the frontier to supervise construction along the frontier until he was called upon for the Blackhawk War in Mississippi. He himself escorted Blackhawk to prison, and it is said that Blackhawk appreciated and liked Davis for his kindness. After he resigned from the army in 1835 he decided to marry the daughter of Colonel Zachary Taylor and to tend to his plantation. After his wife’s sudden death of malaria, Davis became somewhat of a social hermit for eight years and read many books about politics and philosophy. Then he decided to strengthen his ties to the Mississippi planter class by marrying a woman with vast social status in the area. Shortly after, he was elected to the United States House of Representatives as a Democrat. When the Mexican-American war happened, Davis decided to resign from congress and become the commander of a Mississippi regiment. He achieved the status of a war hero by his gallant efforts and his strategic military bravery in the siege at Monterrey and at the Battle of Buena Vista. After the war, he was elected to the Senate and fought the right of slavery in new territories and the admission of California as a free state. In a political move, Davis stepped down from the senate to run against a pro-compromise governor candidate and lost the election. He returned to the senate in 1853 and continued to fight issues over slavery and states rights. He actually proposed the very controversial issue of reviving the slave trade. His stance on these issues would affect his fate later when turmoil struck the nation.

Contrary to popular belief, Jefferson Davis did not lobby for secession after the election of Abraham Lincoln. Davis did however support his state’s decision to succeed from the union. Davis also didn’t want to be president of the Confederate States of America by any means; he also never wanted to be the president of his previous government of the United States. Davis received command of the Army of Mississippi as a major general on January 25, 1861. Some high members of the CSA wanted Davis as a military leader on the field because of his strong military expertise while others wanted Davis as president because of his courage, orating skill, and his experience as a statesman. Davis preferred military over political office mainly due to his woes under President Pierce. However, on February 4, when delegates from the six seceded states met in Montgomery, Alabama to create a new government, they all chose Jefferson Davis as the leader of their new nation for a six year term. Claims are maid that no other man was even spoken of for the candidacy for presidency (Allen 267). Upon receiving word of his new leadership role, Jefferson Davis had a grim look on his face and his wife, Varina, thought there had been a family tragedy. He did not feel that he was the right man for the job, but he never failed to do his duty in life. Davis once said “Whatever circumstances demand shall be met as a duty,” and he considered duty something that absolutely had to be done. He then set out to Montgomery to accept his inauguration, and in his speech he even said he might soon return to the ranks as a soldier. The people in the south loved him because...
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