-- Dilemmas of Compromise --

Saturday February 9, 1861

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Commentary: Davis's Election

Davis was a strong supporter of southern rights, but not a fire-eater. In the aftermath of Lincoln's election, he had counseled Mississippi against immediate secession. His election as president of the Confederacy reassured cautious southerners, especially in the upper South, about the reasonableness of the new southern republic. Davis's considerable political experience as a longtime United States senator and spokesman for the southern Democrats, and well as his military background as a former secretary of war were also considerations in his selection. The fire-eater, William L. Yancey, said of Davis: "The hour and the man have met!"

Bibliography: Thomas, Confederate Nation, pp. 56-66; Barney, Secessionist Impulse, pp. 195-96; Nevins, Emergence of Lincoln, 2: 433-35.

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