Jefferson DavisThe Civil War was a very famous and trying part of our nation’s history. There were many distinguished figures who either got their start or furthered their fame during the Civil War. One of these figures, Jefferson Davis, went from a Mississippi planter to the President of the Confederate States of America. How did Jefferson Davis get from being a planter to the President? Most people know about Davis’ career as the President of the Confederacy and his beginning as a cotton planter, but the history of how he got there is not as widely known. Jefferson Davis was working as a planter before he went to Transylvania University and graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1828. While he was a cadet his performance was less than stellar, he was in the bottom third of his class, while still being well established as being an excellent leader in his class. Shortly after graduating, he was assigned second-lieutenant of the First Infantry. Jefferson Davis went to the Military Academy because in 1824, President James Monroe requested that he should be a cadet at West Point. After becoming second-lieutenant of the First Infantry, Jefferson Davis went and fought in the Black Hawk War, contrary to the belief that he did not serve in this particular war. He fought in the Black Hawk War with Abraham Lincoln, serving as a captain of militia. Later on in the war Davis became a lieutenant in the regular army. During the Black Hawk War, Lieutenant Davis was placed in charge of Black Hawk and his band of warriors after assisting in pushing Black Hawk back towards the Wisconsin River. Jefferson Davis treated Black Hawk and his band of warriors so kindly he ended up winning over the Sauk leader. While serving under future president Zachary Taylor, Jefferson Davis met Sarah Knox Taylor, Colonel Taylor’s daughter. He married Sarah Taylor, against her father’s wishes, and Meyer 2resigned from military service to take up civic duties. A mere three months after they were married, Sarah came down with a bad case of malaria and passed away in 1835. Prior to Sarah’sdeath, Davis withdrew from the spotlight and lived on his cotton plantation in Davis Bend, Mississippi. He was a slaveholder on his plantation for eight years as he built up a career as a politician and as a Democrat. Davis believed that slaves were essential for the South to flourish. He took part in the gubernatorial campaign in 1843 for the democratic party. Davis also participated in the Democratic National Convention, where his powerful speeches made him very well-known. Jefferson Davis married Varina Howell, his second wife, in 1845 when Varina was eighteen years old. Davis had six children with Varina, two girls and four boys, but only their two girls survived past childhood. This marriage helped strengthen Davis’ connection with Mississippi planters because Varina’s family were prominent planters.In the same year, Davis was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, but his term was very short. Davis resigned from his Congressional seat in June of 1846. While serving as a Representative, Davis actively debated subjects about Texas, Oregon, and tariffs. Davis’ passionate and moving speeches helped him accomplish many of his goals. The whole time he was in Congress, he never wavered in his support of states’ rights.Jefferson Davis resigned in 1846 from the House of Representatives to fight in the Mexican-American War. With the rank of colonel, Davis lead the First Regiment of Mississippi Riflemen in victory at the Battle of Monterrey at Fort Teneria, in 1846. Colonel Davis also lead the First Regiment in the Battle of Buena Vista in 1847, where he gained nationwide acclaim for blocking a charge of Mexican swords. Soon after these battles, Davis was offered the promotion of brigadier general, which he turned down. General Zachary Taylor, his former father-in-law, Meyer 3was so impressed by Davis’ actions that he appointed Davis the U.S. Senator of Mississippi in 1847 after the former Senator’s death. Davis got elected the position of Mississippi Senator afterfinishing the former senator’s term. As a Senator, Jefferson Davis continued to support states’ rights. After serving as Senator, Davis ran for Mississippi governorship and lost the election.President Franklin Pierce appointed Davis U.S. Secretary of War in 1853, where he served for four years until he returned to Senate in 1857 as a vocal advocate for states’ rights, especially for Southern slave states, stating that “African slavery, as it exists in the United States, is a moral, a social, and a political blessing.”. He remained in Senate until Mississippi seceded from the Union in January 1861. In February 1861, at the Confederate Congress in Montgomery, Jefferson Davis was selected to be the President of the Confederacy by Alabama. On February of the next year he was inaugurated for a six-year term. Davis was honored, but slightly disappointed because he had been hoping for a military position. Davis’ selection was was a compromise to keep both moderate and radical factions in Congress happy. Over the next few years, his popularity decreased significantly. Davis was impatient and gave prominent positions to apparently unsuccessful leaders. He was also prone to chronic illness. The Confederacy began to lose more and more battles and eventually, the members of the Confederate government had to flee from Richland. President Davis was eventually captured by Union soldiers on May 10,1865 in Irwinville, Georgia.The Union soldiers accused him of treason and took him to Fort Monroe in Virginia for two years, from May 22, 1865, to May 13, 1867. He was not charged with treason and was released on bond, which Horace Greeley, an abolitionist, paid for part of. After he was released, Davis and his family moved overseas to Europe for business. Some time later, he and his family returned to America and began to live in Tennessee. Later on, Davis moved his family to the Mississippi gulf coast, and they lived at Beauvoir, an estate near Meyer 4Biloxi. Jefferson Davis spent the rest of his retirement years living on this estate. Davis was offered the position of president of Texas A University, but he refused the offer. DespiteMississippi’s attempts to return him to the U.S. Senate, Davis was not legally able serve to due to his refusal to request a pardon from the U.S. for his role in the Civil War as the President of the Confederacy.In 1881, Davis’ two-volume book titled “The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government” was published. Jefferson Davis died on December 6, 1889 in New Orleans, Louisiana of acute bronchitis. His body was buried at Metairie Cemetery in New Orleans, then moved to Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, Virginia at a specially conducted memorial.Although he was most famous for his service during the Civil War, Jefferson Davis accomplished so much during his lifetime. As a lieutenant Davis was respected, as an early politician he was sought after, as a Representative he was revered, and as the President he was loved. Jefferson Davis went through many trials and almost always came out on top. Davis was an amazing speaker and military commander, and all around good person. He wasn’t afraid to stand up for what he believed in, even if it was contrary to the popular views. His outstanding character and pride is what made him such a good leader, and the perfect Confederate President.