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Friday, February 9, 2018

This Day in Confederate History - Feb 9, 1861 Jefferson Davis Elected

Today is day 9 of that complete bullshit non-event 'event' called 'Black History Month'

So we might as well keep focusing on Confederate history to push our figurative thumbs into the eyes of those who shove black exceptionalism down society's throats

Even long before Trump was elected (a very happy day for A&G) we never understood why anyone would want to be President
Forget party affiliations and ideologies.. 

It really is a thankless job where the rewards and perks are small and the reality is unless you are a phony race-baiting bastard like Obama where everyone is afraid to say/write 'boo' for fear of being labeled 'racist', a President is eviscerated professionally and personally on a near daily basis

And as bad as it was/is for American Presidents, it was just as horrible for a Confederate President named Jefferson Davis who was elected President of his country on this date in 1861

The official inauguration would occur on Washington's birthday - Feb 22
In the Confederate Constitution, a President was elected to serve one 6-year term then leave office so had the CSA been left alone to forge its own path, Davis' Presidency would have ended in February, 1867

Even as a Civil War buff, yours truly used to think little to nothing about Davis.. 

In movies, TV mini series and most historical books written on the subject, he was mostly an after-thought as the focus was always on the military and the various battles and skirmishes

Then I discovered a free book through Apple iBooks called 'The Day of the Confederacy', written in 1919 by Nathaniel Stephenson
This is probably the most detailed account of both the economic survival of the CSA government and depicting how embattled Davis was with so many forces within wanting to tear him down especially the Southern newspaper press

It was a real eye opener and for those interested in this subject, it is recommended you keyword it on whatever tablet device you use - it should be free since it is also available via Gutenberg.org

The enemies list against Davis because in the early stages of the war where he tried to get the various state governors to give up the state militias they were hoarding to join in the centralized army which was taking the brunt of the daily fighting

They mostly refused on the grounds that state rights come before any centralized authority
For Davis, he saw for the Confederacy to have any chance of beating the north, at least temporarily there could not be each state making its own separate decisions based on their own specific interests but there had to be someone coordinating at the top with power to override them

From an academic sense, those furious at Davis had a point - what was the point of a state seceding and breaking from the north just to be controlled by another centralized governmental body

But from a practical standpoint, Davis was correct and his entire administration up until the fall of Richmond in 1865 was about constant in-fighting and bickering
The southern media also deeply despised Davis and saw him as unfit for the task of winning the war

Like Lincoln, he was elected not because he was the most popular or liked but because he was a centrist and those the compromise candidate that the various secessionist factions could agree upon

Every military defeat he was blamed heavily for and every victory, given virtually no credit
And every time there was food shortages or the value of Confederate currency depreciated or anything bad happened, he was the primary scapegoat

So really one can argue Southerners treated their President just as abhorrent as we treated and still treat ours

And it didn't help things that Davis had a very difficult personality and could be abrasive in a position demands then as in now disingenuous phoniness.
One historian when making comparisons between Davis and Lincoln wrote:

"Lincoln was flexible; Davis was rigid. Lincoln wanted to win; Davis wanted to be right. Lincoln had a broad strategic vision of Union goals; Davis could never enlarge his narrow view. 

Lincoln searched for the right general, then let him fight the war; Davis continuously played favorites and interfered unduly with his generals, even with Robert E. Lee. Lincoln led his nation; Davis failed to rally the South."
Whether this was wholly accurate, partly so or completely off base, we don't believe the outcome of the war would have been any different had someone else served as President of the Confederacy with the exception of someone who believed perhaps in full northern invasion and direct attack on Washington DC from the onset

After the war, Davis was imprisoned for two years, being released in 1867.  He passed away on December 6, 1889

Yep, we really have no idea why anyone would bother to seek the office of the Presidency; a job even more thankless than that of Vice President

But there's always those that do..  No shortage of them.