About Jefferson Davis

Jefferson Davis, soldier, Mexican War hero, U.S. Congressman, U.S. Senator, U.S. Secretary of War, President of the Confederate States of America was an American patriot who helped shape the United States in the 19th century.

Before the Civil War or War Between the States, Jefferson Davis was almost universally admired throughout the United States. His leadership during the great conflict itself has been subject to many interpretations, though both admirers and detractors agree he was a man of great intelligence, enormous personal honor, and rocklike integrity.

Born in Kentucky two hundred years ago (June 3, 1808), Davis and his family moved to the Mississippi Territory in 1810, when he was two years old. He essentially remained a Mississippian for the remaining years of his life. His long life spanned virtually the entire 19th century and in several ways he was one of the pivotal figures who shaped American history. The epic course of his life ranged from the genuinely heroic to the truly tragic.

Davis is greatly responsible for the look of the present U.S. Capitol. He was instrumental in the establishment of the Smithsonian Institution and was perhaps the greatest Secretary of War in American history. Yet, despite the fame that has always surrounded him, Jefferson Davis is the least known of all the important Civil War leaders.