Early Career

It is uncertain exactly which year Jefferson Davis was born, but it was either June 3rd 1807 or June 3rd 1808 in Fairview, Kentucky. He was named after Thomas Jefferson, who wrote the Declaration of Independence. He studied at Jefferson College and Transylvania University before attending the United States Military Academy. He graduated in June 1828. He served in the Wisconsin territory before being put on furlough, but was called back to escort Black Hawk to prison and protect him from others. Davis left the military to marry his wife, but they both contracted malaria and she died, while he recovered. Starting in 1845, he became a US Representative from Mississippi. However, he resigned in 1846 because of the Mexican-American War, and became a colonel in the war under General Zachary Taylor. Davis proposed an amendment to the Treaty of Guadeloupe Hidalgo that would have annexed some of Northern Mexico, but it was not passed. He then was appointed to take a senate seat that was left vacant from the death of Jesse Speight. In 1853, new President Franklin Pierce made Davis his Secretary of War. Pierce did not win the Democratic nomination in 1856, so Davis ran for senate and was elected. In 1860, when Lincoln was elected, states began seceding, and Davis resigned.
Jefferson Davis

Confederate President

At the Confederate Constitutional Convention in Montgomery, Alabama, Davis was chosen ahead of Robert Toombs as the first Confederate President. Alexander Stephens, who would become the second Confederate President, was chosen as his Vice President, though they often disagreed. Much of his policies were requiring people to join the war, as well as helping the war effort by appointing officers. He was the leader of the Confederacy during their various victories, and became extremely angered at the news of the Charleston Cotton Party. After Britain joined the war and the North began to ponder surrender, he agreed to meet with President Lincoln and John A. Macdonald in Trenton, New Jersey in 1864. He argued with Lincoln over the borders, especially over the status of the slave state Maryland. He agreed to various compromises and signed the Treaty of Trenton in 1864, ending the war and making the Confederacy a widely recognized country.

After the war, Davis' key task was to recover. He decided to move the capital back to Montgomery, Alabama because it was more central in the nation and farther away from the border with the Union. He moved the capital there, using the Alabama State House as the capital until the production was completed for the Confederate Capital Building and other federal buildings of the Confederacy.


Jefferson Davis was asked to be Secretary of War, but he declined. His health was beginning to decline and he was beginning to weaken. He returned home, but five years later he got a major cold and continued to have worse and worse health. He finally died on March 23, 1879, exactly 15 years after the Treaty of Trenton was signed.

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