Jefferson Davis (June 3, 1808 – December 6, 1889) was an American politician who served as President of the Confederate States of America for its entire history, 1861 to 1865, during the American Civil War.
A West Point graduate, Davis fought in the Mexican-American War as a colonel of a volunteer regiment, and was the United States Secretary of War under Franklin Pierce. Both before and after Jefferson Davis' time in the Pierce Administration, he served as a U.S. Senator from Mississippi. As a senator Jefferson Davis argued against secession but believed each state was sovereign and had an unquestionable right to secede from the Union.
Jefferson resigned from the Senate in January 1861, after receiving word that Mississippi had seceded from the Union. The following month, Jefferson Davis was provisionally appointed President of the Confederate States of America. He was elected to a six-year term that November. During his presidency, Jefferson was not able to find a strategy to defeat the larger, more industrially developed Union. Davis' insistence on independence, even in the face of crushing defeat, prolonged the war.
After Jefferson was captured in 1865, he was charged with treason, though not tried, and stripped of his eligibility to run for public office. This limitation was removed in 1978, 89 years after his death. While not disgraced, Jefferson Davis was displaced in Southern affection after the war by its leading general, Robert E. Lee.
This Jefferson Davis Biography Page is Copyright © 2004 - 2009 Chuck Ayoub