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See the fact file below for more information on Jefferson Davis or alternatively, you can download our 22 page Jefferson Davis worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Early Life and Military Career
- Jefferson Finis Davis was born on June 3, 1808, in Christian County, Kentucky. He came from a military family. His father and uncles served as soldiers during the American Revolutionary War, while three of his brothers fought in the War of 1812.
- At the age of two, they moved to Mississippi, where he spent most of his childhood. While at Rosemont Plantation, he learnt horseback riding, fishing, and farming. Young
- Jefferson attended local and boarding schools. He enrolled at Jefferson College in Mississippi but later transferred to Transylvania University in Kentucky.
- At the age of 16, while studying law at Transylvania University, his father died of malaria.
- In 1824, Davis entered West Point Military Academy in New York. After four years, he graduated 23rd in his class. Upon graduation, Davis took a post as second-lieutenant of the
- First Infantry. By 1831, he fought with his regiment in the Black Hawk War.
- The Black Hawk War campaign was fought between April 26 until September 30, 1832. Chief Black Hawk was an Indian leader who was later arrested by federal troops.
- Davis was transferred to the First Dragoons, after his promotion. Until 1835, he fought on the frontier against Native American Indian tribes like the Comanche and Pawnees. That same year, Davis married Sarah Knox Taylor, daughter of his commanding officer, Zachary Taylor, future U.S. president. Without Taylor’s approval, Davis resigned from his military post, married, and moved with Sarah in Mississippi. In September 1835, Sarah died of malaria.
Jefferson Davis’ Political Career and the Confederation
- After the death of his wife, Davis spent years farming. By 1843, he became a delegate at the Democratic National Convention. After a year, he became a vocal supporter of the annexation of Texas and state protection against federal ruling.
- His political career officially began in 1845, when he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. At the same time, Davis remarried, this time to Varina Howell, daughter of a high-class plantation owner from Mississippi.
- By 1846, the Mexican-American War broke out. He went back to military service and served under General Zachary Taylor. During the Battles of Monterrey and Buena Vista, Colonel Davis led the First Regiment of the Mississippi Riflemen.
- His victories during the war gained him public prominence and respect from his former father-in-law.
- In 1847, Davis was appointed as a U.S. Senator from Mississippi to fill the seat of Senator Jesse Speight, who died the same year. After serving under Speight’s term, Senator Davis was re-elected and served until 1851. As a senator, Davis supported slavery and states’ rights. He became famous for his speeches regarding debatable issues including the admission of California as a free state.
- By 1851, he lost the election for the governorship of Mississippi. Two years later, President Franklin Pierce appointed him as U.S. Secretary of War. In 1857, after the defeat of Pierce for re-election, Davis was once again elected to the Senate.
- With his return to the Senate, Davis remained a supporter and protector of the rights of slave states in the south. He served as a senator until January 9, 1861, when Mississippi left the Union.
- On February 9, 1861, Jefferson Davis was named President of the Confederate States of America during the Confederate Constitutional Convention held in Montgomery, Alabama.
- He was meant to serve a six-year term as president of states that seceded the Union.
- Davis considered the post as a duty. His appointment was mainly political, although he preferred to serve the military. With his military records and dignified speeches, Davis was a charmer to southerners, but after a growing number of Confederate defeats, his leadership was questioned.
- During the Civil War (1861-1865), Davis faced issues within his administration. Some accounted that he had a habit of appointing and favoring people who were unsuccessful leaders.
- The Union, with 20 loyal states, led by President Abraham Lincoln, outnumbered the Confederates with soldiers, equipment, armory and resources.
- On April 2, 1865, together with other officials of the Confederate government, Davis fled to Richmond. Seven days later, Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered to Union General and future U.S. President, Ulysses S. Grant at the Appomattox Courthouse. It signaled the end of the war.
After the Civil War, Death and Legacy
- On May 10, 1865, Davis was captured near Irwinville, Georgia, and was charged with treason. From May 22, 1865 until May 13, 1867, he was imprisoned at Fort Monroe in Virginia.
- After a bond, Davis was released but refused to ask for official pardon from the federal government.
- Together with his family, Davis travelled to Europe for business. Upon returning to the United States, they first settled in Tennessee before moving to Mississippi. He spent most of his retirement years on an estate called Beauvoir.
- In 1881, The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government, a two-volume book he wrote about his wartime experiences was published.
- On December 6, 1889, Jefferson Davis died of acute bronchitis, in New Orleans, Louisiana. His was buried at Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, Virginia.
- By 1978, his U.S. citizenship was posthumously restored. In addition, a presidential library named after him was opened in Mississippi in 1998.
Jefferson Davis Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about statesman and military leader Jefferson Davis across 22 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Jefferson Davis worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about Jefferson Davis was a 19th century U.S. statesman and military leader. He was the first and only president of the Confederate States of America during the Civil War as opposed to President Abraham Lincoln’s Union.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Jefferson Davis Facts
- Confederate President
- States at Civil War
- Confederate Generals
- Linking U.S. Presidents
- Confirm Confederacy
- Years of Davis
- American Civil War
- Bank of J. Davis
- The Trial
- Point of View
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Link will appear as Jefferson Davis Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, March 29, 2018
Use With Any Curriculum
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