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Jefferson Finis Davis (June 3, 1808 – December 6, 1889) was an American statesman and 1st President of the Confederate States. A West Point graduate, Davis fought in the Mexican-American War as a colonel of the Mississippi Rifles, and was the United States Secretary of War under President Franklin Pierce. Both before and after his time in the Pierce administration, he served as a Democratic U.S. Senator representing the State of Mississippi. As a senator, he argued against secession, but did agree that each state was sovereign and had an unquestionable right to secede from the Union.