Jefferson Davis

Jefferson Davis was the President of the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War. He was one of the most prominent leaders of the South during the Civil War and served the government of the Confederacy from 1861 until 1865.

Early Life

Jefferson Davis was born in a Christian County, Kentucky on June 3, 1808. He was born to a well-off family and during his early years, he attained formal education while also learning many important skills such as fishing and riding. He also attended a boarding school during his early life. He later joined the Transylvania University to study law and become a lawyer. But he later decided to join the army.

Life as a Soldier

Jefferson Davis joined the West Point Military Academy after graduating from the Transylvania University. He graduated from the Military Academy in 1824.

During the subsequent years, he served on active duty in the military, often along the western frontier of USA where the military often had skirmishes against Native American tribes. Davis served in the military from 1824 until 1835. In 1835, he married, left the military and started working on his own plantation.

Life as a Politician

In 1845, Jefferson Davis started his political career. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives the same year.

He briefly left politics in 1846 to go and participate in the Mexican-American War in the west. In 1847, he returned to politics and was chosen as a member of the U.S. Senate. He continued to be a part of the U.S. Senate until 1851. In 1853, he was appointed the US Secretary of War and served in this position for a few years.

During the Civil War

When Abraham Lincoln was elected President of USA in early 1861, southern states started declaring their independence from the Union. Mississippi was among the earliest southern states to break away from the Union. Since Mississippi was the home state of Davis, he resigned from the US Senate in 1861 and returned to the state.

He was elected as the President of the Confederate States on February 9, 1861. As President of the Confederacy, Davis hoped that the Confederacy may separate from the Union peacefully but things turned out to be different.

When the Confederate forces tried to take Fort Sumter in South Carolina, Jefferson Davis declared war on the Union and authorized the Confederate states to attack the fort. This marked the beginning of the Civil War. Throughout the Civil War, Jefferson Davis remained the President of the Confederate states.

End of Civil War

When the main Confederate army under Robert E. Lee surrendered in April, 1865, Jefferson Davis still thought that the South could win the war. He tried to continue the war but no one in the south supported the war any more.

Davis was captured by the Union forces on May 10, 1865. He was sentenced to two years in prison for his role in the Confederate government. After the sentence, Jefferson Davis led a regular life and never returned to politics.

The Death and Resurrection of Jefferson Davis (The American Crisis Series: Books on the Civil War Era) Hardcover – May 28, 2005

Jefferson Davis: Confederate President (Famous Figures of the Civil War Era) Paperback – March 1, 2001

Learn More about American President Jefferson Davis in the American Civil War at Wikipedia