Born in Kentucky to Samuel and Jane (Cook) Davis on June 3, 1808, Jefferson Davis is perhaps most famously known for his role as President of the Confederate States of America from 1861 until 1865. However, in his youth, Mr. Davis attended Transylvania University, graduated from West Point, and served as a colonel of a volunteer regiment during the Mexican–American War. Later, he would go on to serve his constituents as a United States Senator (representing the State of Mississippi), and the U.S. Secretary of War under President Pierce. As a senator, he debated against secession, but believed that each state was sovereign and had the unquestionable right to withdraw from the Union. However, as history belongs to the victor – Mr. Davis has been ignored, discredited, and his thoughtful writings all but forgotten. However, in the intellectual and maturely considered case of State Sovereignty, his is an important voice to ponder.
“Having achieved your independence, having passed through the Confederation, you assented to the formation of our present constitutional Union. You did not surrender your sovereignty. Your fathers had sacrificed too much to claim, as a reward of their toil, merely that they should have a change of masters; and a change of masters it would have been had Massachusetts surrendered her State Sovereignty to the Central Government, and consented that the Central Government should have the power to coerce a State. But if this power does not exist, if this sovereignty has not been surrendered, then who can deny the words of soberness and truth spoken by your candidate this evening, when he has pleaded to you the cause of State independence, and the right of a community to be judge of its own domestic affairs?” – Address of Jefferson Davis at Faneuil Hall, Boston, Oct. 12, 1858
Read the rest of Mr. Davis’s speech at: Jefferson Davis in Boston, 1858, or by looking for it alphabetically under the Resource Downloads Tab.