Meeting the Man, Jefferson Davis
I became acquainted with him while researching and writing my book about Jim Limber.
Jefferson Davis was not a complicated man. He was very straightforward and a man of principle and integrity. He was an 18th century man whose ideals and values can't be judged by 21st century standards.
A West Point graduate, he distinguished himself in the Mexican War. He was both a Senator and a Legislator. As a Junior Senator he astonished statesmen with his oratory. He served as Secretary of War under President Franklin Pierce, where his creative innovation and war strategy became legend. His debate and oratory skills were lauded at a time when the Senate floor was crowded with brilliant men and speakers. More than any other person Davis is responsible for the iconic appearance of our nation's Capitol building in Washington, DC. He designed the building and the Freedom Statue adorning it. He was the first to say it needed to be special, a reliquary for great American art and architecture.
He argued against war, and worked for more discussion and debate. As a soldier he understood the costs of war. He didn't seek nor want the position of the President of the Confederacy. It was thrust upon him by those who valued his leadership. If anything, Jefferson Davis was a patriot, a Constitutional scholar, a public servant. He took the leadership position of the Lost Cause determined to do the best he could. A prayerful man, a firm Christian, he dedicated his work to God every day.
The man was the Confederate President for only four years of his life. There is so much more to know about him.
Last week in Biloxi, MS, I had the privilege of meeting the great grandson of Jefferson Davis. I had breakfast with he and his wife, the founders of The Jefferson Davis Foundation whose mission is education about the man. They've asked me to write a young adult biography. It seems there isn't one out there. I'm a bit overwhelmed at the idea, but I'm giving it some serious consideration. There are a lot of reasons today's students should get to know our historical statesmen. And Jefferson Davis was one.