Thursday Dec 29, 2022

057 - Jefferson Davis: First and Final Confederate President


About this episode: 

There are some sixteen accounts about the life of the President of the Confederacy. Unlike his counterpart, Abraham Lincoln, this President, from the perspective of most historians, has not fared well.  Brittle, ill-tempered, one who held grudges, possessed poor political skills.  In short, a second-rate leader who loved bureaucracy and was unable to grow with responsibility.  When asked why the Confederacy lost the war, Southern-born David Potter, a professor of history at both Yale and Stanford Universities, commented that this Chief Executive should shoulder much of the blame.  Writing some two decades ago, another historian and biographer, William Cooper, Jr., wrote that we should look at a man from his time and not condemn him for not being a man of our time.  Though that seems to fly in the face of current sensitivities and agendas, that is what we, now, shall attempt to do. This is the story of a man, like Robert E. Lee, who is a marquee figurehead for a short-lived nation whose Constitution supported states’ rights and slavery.  A man subjected to the bolts of lightning flung his way for being its elected leader.  This is the story of the first and only President of the Confederate States of America, Jefferson F. Davis.  



Some Characters Mentioned In This Episode:

Joseph Davis

Franklin Pierce

Howell Cobb

William L. Yancey

Leonidas Polk

Braxton Bragg


For Further Reading:


Jefferson Davis, American by William J. Cooper, Jr.


Get The Guide:

Want to learn more about the Civil War? A great place to start is Fred's guide, The Civil War: A History of the War between the States from Workman Publishing. The guide is in its 9th printing.


Producer: Dan Irving


Thank you to our sponsor Bob Graesser, Raleigh Civil War Round Table's editor of The Knapsack newsletter and the Round Table's webmaster at


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