Jefferson Davis Essay

Jefferson Davis is one of the most complicated and controversial personals in the history of the United States.

Jefferson Davis is a historical figure who causes strong passions among researchers. Through the years historians have put him at both edges of the spectrum: some of them depicted Jefferson being a hero, others have judged him unskillful. He was chosen the president of the Confederacy and some time later was accused of being involved in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln for political reasons, Davis was a reason of continuous dissension between northerners and southerners.

2. Jefferson Davis as a leader during the Civil War. Jefferson Davis was not only the President of the Confederate States of America. He was also Commander – in – Chief of the Confederate Army. Jefferson was appointed to be a colonel in the United States Army in the Mexican-American War. Then he was Secretary of War and also of the USA Senator. As William J. Cooper, notes, “Davis’s notability does not come only from his significant role in the Civil War. He was born on the Kentucky frontier at the beginning of the nineteenth century and he witnessed and took part in the epochal modification of the United States from a developing country to a strong nation spanning the continent”. Jefferson Davis was born in the South and spent his boyhood on a cotton plantation.

At 16 he entered the Military Academy at West Point. He got a good training at the military school that assisted him to become a great military leader and one of the causes he had been chosen as a military leader and why the Confederates had won so many campaigns at the beginning of the Civil War. His classmate at West Point told “he was notable in his division for manly behavior and high-toned and strong character. He had a figure of a real soldier and rather athletic; his step springy, resembling the pace of an Indian ”˜brave’ on the war-path.” From 1828 to 1833 he had his first active service in the USA army at posts in the Northwest. The Black-hawk war in 1831, his regiment participated in several of its campaigns, in one of which the Indian leader, Blackhawk, was seized and put in the charge of Lieutenant Davis. And it is noted that the heart of the Indian prisoner was won by the kind treatment he got from Jefferson Davis who held him prisoner. He suddenly and surprisingly resigned in June 30, 1835, with an immediate entry upon the duties of civil life. Nevertheless, with the beginning of the Mexican War, Davis resigned his position in order to direct a Mississippi regiment. His courage in the campaigns of Monterrey and Buena Vista brought him acclaim. Mississippi accepted an ordinance of secession January 9, 1861. Consequently, Davis at once left the United States Senate after getting the official note of the Mississippi’s secession, and hoped to get an outstanding military command. Really, Mississippi did choose him to the leadership of the State forces, a position he wanted, but he was elected to the Presidency of the Confederacy a few weeks later. Being the President he faced almost impossible task. His reserved and often severe manner alienated many who communicated with him. Some of his honored commanders, P.G.T. Beauregard and Joseph E. Johnston are well-known among them. He could be stubborn and hesitating at the same time. Often inflexible and humorless, he stayed personally loyal to some individuals and attendants whom he assisted. Davis was depicted by a contemporary as “a gentleman, who has a slight figure, a little more than middle height, with erect and straight bearing. He had high, noticeable cheek-bones, deep-set eyes, and thin lips one of which was almost blind after an illness.” There was no hauteur in manner, and no supposed superciliousness of the Southern aristocracy. His mind was developed and fruitful on basis of native power, early education, reading a lot and absorbed in thoughts on affairs of great importance. He had self-command, achieved by the discipline of a regular, which suited him to command others. The person with such a strong willed nature does not abandon his purpose so easy. That is why Jefferson Davis tried to complete the affair of his life. His approach to the Confederate high command was greatly controversial. Davis also came, later on, to consider the institution of a strong central administration to be significant to the survival of the Confederacy, despite of his virulent States’ Rights rhetoric before the war. This continuous change of position brought him largely into conflict with States’ Rights advocates during the Confederacy. Davis failed to collect enough funds to struggle in the Civil War of the USA and failed to get recognition and assistance for the Confederacy from foreign states. He was in permanent conflict with exponents of the idea of states’ rights, and his efforts to have skilled military officers designated by the president were not supported by the governors in the states. The judges of local courts permanently interfered in military affairs through judicial verdicts. Nevertheless, Davis was in charge for the raising of the great Confederate armies, the significant designation of General Robert E. Lee as a leader of the Army of Virginia, and the support of industrial enterprise in the South. His dedication, energy, and belief in the common affair were an origin of much of the persistence with which the Confederacy combated in the Civil War. Davis still expected that the South would be able to obtain its independence even in 1865, but finally he understood defeat was close and fled from Richmond. Davis was passionately devoted to the affair of the Confederacy, and his actions on the behalf of the Confederacy were done thanks to a heavy personal cost. While contemporaries and, then, scientists have found many reasons to criticize his actions, most scientists think that no one could govern the Confederacy as he did. Davis was guiding the army from Mississippi and kept his position at Buena Vista due to some skilled artillery work of a young officer Braxton Bragg, saving Zachary Taylor from rout. Davis often interfered with strategies of his commanders and changed commands from his war staff in Richmond. He was in Georgia several times during his Presidency, and during the “inaugural tour”. Over the next two years Davis miss-managed practically each side of the war and the government. Atlanta was almost surrounded and Joseph E. Johnston was not able to defend his post, Davis made free the General of the Army of Tennessee and put John B. Hood instead of him.

Hood immediately lost much more men for six weeks than Johnston did for three months. When the South was in ruins and Grant’s Army was near he left Richmond. After his capture in the area of Irwinville, Ga. at the end of the war the former president had been in jail for two years for treachery but was made free before trial. A military leader and the former President of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis died in 1889 when he was 81. 3. Conclusion.

This paper briefly examines an outstanding personality, a military leader Jefferson Davis. Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America and commander-in-chief of the army and navy, belongs to history, and the Confederacy to establish itself in constancy by the power of its forces will not be admitted as a proof against his own right to be respected. Thanks to his personal qualities he got down into the history of the United States. Despite contradictory opinions concerning his active participation in the Civil War, it should be noted that no one could do more in that circumstances.

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