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Jefferson Davis

Jefferson Davis
Unidentified Artist
Jefferson Davis, 3 Jun 1808 - 6 Dec 1889
c. 1856
Half-plate daguerreotype
Image: 11.6 x 8.8 cm (4 9/16 x 3 7/16")
Plate [sight]: 13.9 x 10.6 cm (5 1/2 x 4 3/16")
Case Open [with clasp extended]: 15.5 x 26.4 cm (6 1/8 x 10 3/8")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; partial gift of Dr. Roland A. Bill
Object number
Exhibition Label
Born Fairview, Kentucky
Destined to become the Confederacy’s only president, Jefferson Davis entered politics in 1845 when Mississippians elected him to Congress. After relinquishing his seat to fight in the Mexican American War, Davis resumed his public career with service in the U.S. Senate (1847–51; 1857–61) and as Franklin Pierce’s secretary of war (1853–57). A champion of southern rights and an outspoken protector of slavery, he nonetheless wished to avoid the breakup of the Union. Davis supported attempts to forestall secession after Lincoln’s election, but abandoned the effort when Mississippi seceded. He reluctantly accepted the Confederate presidency, having hoped for a command in the rebel army instead.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
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