timeline of world history

The Colonial Period

The Revolutionary War Era

The Early Republic

The Age of Expansion

The American Civil War

Reconstruction

The Progressive Era

The World Wars

immigration act of 1965

 

© thenagain info  All rights reserved.

Jefferson Davis is Elected President of the Confederacy

1861

 

Jefferson Davis was born on June 3, 1808 in a log cabin in Kentucky, the sixth child in the Davis family. His family eventually moved to Mississippi. At age eight, he began his schooling, which culminated in his graduation from West Point Academy on June 30, 1828. Following this, he served out on the frontier of Michigan for a few years before taking a more active duty in the Black Hawk War that ended in 1832. In 1835 Davis decided to abandon his career in the army and turn to politics.

Back to "The Civil War" Chronology

In 1845, Davis was elected into the U.S. House of Representatives. While serving here, he made a number of important speeches on the rights of foreign-born citizens and on the expansion of the U.S. into Oregon and California. When war with Mexico erupted in 1846, he was a strong supporter of it. In fact, he signed up as a volunteer and became a hero after using a controversial military maneuver that led his troops to a victory.

The war was officially over in February 1848, but in December 1847, Davis and returned to Washington and was elected into the Senate. Here, Davis was a staunch defender of the Southern lifestyle and institutions, including slavery, even though he felt it was not going to be a permanent condition. He also was opposed to the Compromise of 1850 put forth by Henry Clay, because of his strong beliefs in the Southern lifestyle. In 1853, Davis was appointed by President Franklin Pierce as Secretary of War, an appointment he held until 1857.

Following his appointment under Pierce, Davis returned to the Senate where he advocated for the expansion of slavery, but not for secession. When, however, the Southern states began to secede from the Union, Davis resigned from the Senate, and was elected President of the Confederate States of America in 1861. Davis really wanted to have, and would have preferred to have had, a role in the Confederate Army, but he accepted his role as president.

During his time in office, things did not go well for him. Davis was often in disagreement with his Congress, his Cabinet, the governors of the Confederate States, as well as with the generals of the Confederate Army. The Confederate government could not seem to work well together, which ultimately proved to be a reason for the Confederacy’s defeat.

Following the surrender of the Confederate troops in April 1865, Davis was wanted for treason. He managed to evade the Union army until May of 1865 when he was captured, charged with treason, and imprisoned at Fort Monroe, Virginia where he remained until May of 1867 when he was released on bond.

Following his release from prison, Davis and his family traveled in Europe for a few years before returning to the states, where Davis now had trouble earning a living. One possible reason was because he refused to take his oath of allegiance in order to regain his citizenship. He eventually wrote of his experiences in The Rise and Fall of the Confederacy, which did not sell well. Davis lived until 1889 when he died of bronchitis in November of that year.


Bibliography:

Eaton, Clement. Jefferson Davis. New York: The Free Press, 1977.

Schlesinger, Arthur M., ed. The Almanac of American History. New York: The Putnum Publishing Group, 1983.


Edited and Researched by:
Becky Cleaveland
December 17, 1999

Text copyright 1996-2016 by thenagain info All rights reserved.

WebChron Index Then Again