1. Welcome to the CivilWarTalk, a forum for questions and discussions about the American Civil War! Become a member today for full access to all of our resources, it's fast, simple, and absolutely free! If you aren't ready for that, try posting your question or comment as a guest!

"Remember Jeff Davis? "

Discussion in 'Civil War History - Secession and Politics' started by william42, Feb 24, 2008.

  1. william42

    william42 First Sergeant

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2005
    Messages:
    1,608
    Location:
    Evansville, Indiana
    [​IMG]

    By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
    February 23, 2008
    Filed at 1:51 p.m. ET

    Remember Jeff Davis? Many Say Forget It


    It hasn't been easy getting people excited about celebrating the 200th birthday of that tall, gaunt, bearded, Kentucky-bred president who was born in a log cabin and went on to lead his people through a bloody civil war.

    No, not Abraham Lincoln. Last week, President Bush himself helped kick off a two-year celebration of the Great Emancipator's Feb. 12, 2009, bicentennial that will include dozens of events in Kentucky, Illinois, Washington and beyond.

    It's that other tall, log cabin-born Kentuckian, Jefferson Davis, whose 200th has turned out to be something of a lost cause.

    ''The response to date has been timid,'' acknowledges Bertram Hayes-Davis, head of the Davis Family Association and great-great grandson of the only president of the short-lived Confederate States of America. ''Nobody has said no. Many haven't said yes.''
    Because Davis was a former secretary of war, Hayes-Davis wrote to the Department of Defense to see if it was interested in participating in some activity ''to educate the public about the real Jefferson Davis.'' The agency didn't even reply.

    Even Mississippi, the state where Davis made his plantation fortune and to which he retired after the war, gave the idea of commemorating Davis a lukewarm reception. A bill to establish a commission ''for the purpose of organizing and planning a celebration in recognition of Jefferson Davis' 200th birthday'' easily passed the House, only to die in the Senate appropriations committee.

    Oh, there will be a ''Miss Confederacy'' crowned during the June 7-8 festival at the Jefferson Davis State Historic Site in Fairview, Ky., where a 351-foot concrete obelisk stands near the site of Davis' cabin birthplace. But that's an annual event.

    The Davis Family Association is holding its reunion May 31 through June 1 at the Rosemont Plantation, Davis' childhood home in Woodville, Miss.

    And on June 3, Davis' actual birthdate, the family will gather in Biloxi for the rededication of Beauvoir House, the hip-roofed, Gulf-front mansion where Davis spent the last 12 years of his life and which was nearly swept away by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

    Last week, Hayes-Davis stood on the Corinthian-columned portico of the Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery to re-enact the inaugural ceremony with which his ancestor formally severed the Southern states from the federal government he felt had been ''perverted from the purposes for which it was ordained.''

    Taking his place on a six-pointed brass star marker alongside the great-great grandson of Howell Cobb, president of the Provisional Confederate Congress, Hayes-Davis placed his right hand on the Alabama State Bible used in the original swearing-in 147 years earlier. Hayes-Davis did not recite the oath, but simply kissed the Bible as his ancestor did, turned to the crowd and said: ''So help me God.''

    But the calendar of events on http://jeffersondavisbicentennial.org is, well, a bit anemic -- especially compared to the hoopla surrounding the 16th president.

    That's to be expected, says William J. Cooper, a professor of history at Louisiana State University and author of ''Jefferson Davis, American.''

    Lincoln ''saved the Union. He emancipated the slaves. I mean, he won the war,'' Cooper says. ''Fighting against Lincoln is, you know, fighting against motherhood.''
    For the most part, if Davis is mentioned at all this year outside the classroom or a Southern museum exhibit, it will be in the context of symposia like ''The Contested Legacy of Jefferson Davis,'' a scholarly discussion being hosted this June by the Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History in Frankfort, at which Cooper is scheduled to be the keynote speaker.

    The Davis family thinks it's a shame that all most people know about him was that he fought to preserve slavery.
    ''It's as if he created the entire institution and was solely responsible for it,'' says Hayes-Davis, a 59-year-old banker from Colorado Springs, Colo. ''And we struggle with that.''

    Most people don't know that Davis was a West Point graduate who fought in the Mexican War under Zachary Taylor and married the future president's daughter, Hayes-Davis says. As a U.S. senator from Mississippi, he had a hand in building the Smithsonian Institution. He bolstered the nation's defenses as secretary of war under President Franklin Pierce.

    ''The history books, which are basically written in New York and Boston and whatever, have one sentence: `Jefferson Davis elected president of the Confederacy,''' his descendant complains.

    Historian James M. McPherson concedes that Davis' antebellum career was ''very illustrious.'' But he says his achievements as a soldier, senator and secretary of war were ''largely eclipsed'' by his role in setting the stage for and then waging the bloodiest war in this nation's history.

    Davis, who disparagingly referred to his fellow Kentuckian as ''His Majesty Abraham the First,'' was what McPherson calls a ''bitter-ender.'' When Lincoln allowed a journalist and a minister through Union lines in July 1864 under a flag of truce to offer peace and amnesty to Davis, the Confederate president was outraged.

    ''Amnesty, Sir, applies to criminals,'' he told the envoys. ''We have committed no crime. At your door lies all the misery and crime of this war ... We are fighting for Independence -- and that, or extermination, we will have ... You may emancipate every Negro in the Confederacy, but we will be free. We will govern ourselves ... if we have to see every Southern plantation sacked, and every Southern city in flames.''
    McPherson, a Lincoln biographer who won the Pulitzer Prize for his Civil War epic, ''Battle Cry of Freedom,'' says some former Confederates, like Gen. Robert E. Lee, are palatable to modern Americans.

    ''Because Lee not only emerged as the foremost icon and hero of the Civil War in the South, I think he also emerged in the postwar North and is seen even today as somebody with more admirable qualities than Jefferson Davis,'' he says.

    Davis comes across, McPherson says, as an ''unreconstructed rebel who never really accepted with anything like good grace the defeat of the Confederacy and continued for the rest of his life to write and speak in a way that basically said, `We were right. We lost this war, not because we were wrong, but because the enemy was more powerful and more ruthless.'''

    Indeed, the last paragraph of Davis's two-volume ''The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government'' -- penned at Beauvoir and often called ''the Bible of the Lost Cause'' -- can hardly be seen as an apology.

    ''In asserting the right of secession,'' Davis wrote, ''it has not been my wish to incite to its exercise: I recognize the fact that the war showed it to be impracticable, but this did not prove it to be wrong; and, now that it may not be again attempted, and that the Union may promote the general welfare, it is needful that the truth, the whole truth, should be known, so that crimination and recrimination may for ever cease, and then, on the basis of fraternity and faithful regard for the rights of the States, there may be written on the arch of the Union, Esto perpetua.''
    Translation: ''May it persevere.''

    Hayes-Davis says his ancestor is a victim of political correctness and of people's insistence on looking at historical events from today's perspective.

    He believes, as Davis did, that the Southern states had a constitutional right to secede. When asked if he thinks secession is viable or legal today, he is noncommittal.
    ''I think the issue is not so much the country splitting. I think the issue is federal control over the states. And I think that you see that even today, when federal mandates come from Washington that, `You will do this, whether you want to or not...,''' says Hayes-Davis, who has represented Davis' family at more than 100 functions over the years.

    As for events this year in connection with the bicentennial, biographer Cooper says he has no problem with descendants re-enacting Davis' inauguration and the like.

    ''The Civil War is the central event in our nation's history, and Davis had a critical part to play in that,'' Cooper says. ''And not to study it makes no sense to me.''

    Just as long, he adds, as commemoration does not become celebration.

    http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/us/AP-Remembering-Jeff-Davis.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=jefferson+davis&st=nyt&oref=slogin


     

  2. (Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW!)
  3. larry_cockerham

    larry_cockerham Southern Gentleman, Lest We Forget, 2011

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2005
    Messages:
    10,200
    Location:
    Nashville
    William, thanks very much for posting that excellent article. I actually read the whole thing. While I've never been a particularly strong Davis fan, his position is somewhat revealed in his comments in the article. States rights, and more importantly, the rights of individuals, were always in his mind, when he was playing politics and trying to micro-manage the war. One can only think about some of todays' federal court dictates to see where Davis was coming from. Schools for one, haven't yet recovered from federal assistance and divine guidance. Davis would have had a place in today's media, assuming he kept an eye out for snipers.

    The restoration of Beauvoir is coming along nicely. It is a chance to get a glimpse of Southern residential 'comfort', the mint julip era, and such in a gentile South. Gentile, of course, if you owned a big house and weren't confined to slave quarters, or being the one growing the mint rather than consuming it. Two sides to this story. Too many humans running our country, or at least trying.
     
  4. william42

    william42 First Sergeant

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2005
    Messages:
    1,608
    Location:
    Evansville, Indiana
    Thanks Larry. Actually I read the whole thing also. Usually I just skim the articles. The article touches on many of the issues that are being discussed right now on this board. Thanks for your comments.

    Also if I remember correctly I think it was you who posted that Jeff Davis' birthplace is a bit south and east of here (Evansville, IN) off the Pennyrile pkwy. (maybe and hour and 1/2 or so) and I hadn't known that until you posted the info. I'll get there one of these days. :shrug:


    Terry
     
  5. Beowulf

    Beowulf Banned

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2008
    Messages:
    1,173
    Location:
    Virginia
    I am confused as to your post. Are you saying GENTILE, as in non-Jewish, or are you saying GENTEEL, as in something the modern world has absolutely no clue concerning?

    The process of incriminating each and every scrap of Southern cullture is as annoying, as atrocious, as uncalled for, and as much a product of the Yankee victory as is the absolute dumbing-down of our knowledge of history, spelling, and diction.

    To have so many members with higher education degrees on this forum, you would think that spelling, to say nothing of sentence-structure and syntax, would be clearly evidenced, if not paramount, among our writings...

    Yet another tragedy brought to us by the Northern invasion.

    Beowulf

    I would also recommend highly that Jefferson Davis be completely ignored in studying anything 'seriously' pertaining to that era of history. These modern 'historians' would fold up and blow away like chaff in trying to denigrate his writings. There might even be some latter-day converts to the ideologies he presents. Of course, Davis would have an unfair advantage, being truly EDUCATED, and being able to hold a thought or an idea through to its edification. If the Lincoln crowd could hang on through the well-manicured gardens of his
    ideas, and not get 'bored' with the journey through a mature adult's reasoning process,
    they might (most likely would) be converted. That is a danger none of them has ever dared, I notice. I'll bet none of them has ever seriously contemplated THE RISE AND FALL OF THE CONFEDERATE GOVERNMENT by Jefferson Davis.

    To read the man, at all, is to begin to understand the media control established by Lincoln and continued through McPherson and
    Cooper. To try and understand where he is coming from will have the effect of unseating those who have tried to make Second Party citizens of us all, through the years, and controlling our thoughts, making us all automatons of the New World Order. Jefferson Davis' clarity and insight would, if comprehended, absolutely unearth the awful truth of what was really destroyed in those four years of the invasion. We can't afford it, for Truth never dies; it just lays here until CSI says, "Over here! Look!"

    No, there's no reason to celebrate Davis, yet. We would have absolutely no idea what we were talking about. We have a hard enough time keeping the one for whom he was named in a large enough box...

    Give us Barrabas!
     
  6. william42

    william42 First Sergeant

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2005
    Messages:
    1,608
    Location:
    Evansville, Indiana
    Dear Mr. B. Wulf: I think I know your game. You really have no use for authentic Civil War history, or getting at the truth. The reason you've concocted your own version of it is to see if you can successfully provoke someone on the board into an exchange or argument that they can't win. It's entertainment for you and you thrive on it. You're a provocateur. That's what you do. Why else would you attack someone's entire post, based on the supposed misspelling of one word? Whatsa matter, are we bored today Mr. Wulf? Couldn't get anyone to come out and play? You're a gomer, man.

    go·mer ˈgoʊ[​IMG]mər/Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[goh-mer]Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation
    –noun Slang. 1. an undesirable hospital patient.


    Terry
     
  7. ole

    ole Brev. Brig. Gen'l Retired Moderator

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2005
    Messages:
    31,012
    Location:
    Near Kankakee
    Ummm. Just lost another. The last person in the world I'd want to upset (note the absence of a "**** off," Samgrant) outside of bluezou, is Larry.)

    What we're missing here is a tiny bit of camaraderie in the enjoyment of discussing history. And we can generally poke each other and call each other idiots. Not to mention, dumb ****'s. Take note sam. I put them in myself -- didn't wait for the censor.

    And here we have another example of expletives, deleted.

    Don't know about the rest of you guys, but we do occasionally stray from having fun to fighting. I'll opt for the fun side.

    ole
     
  8. blue_zouave

    blue_zouave Sergeant

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2005
    Messages:
    817
    A higher education doth not a good speller make... I work with physicians, each with a decade or more of higher education, and I can tell ya, those fellers ain't spellers.

    And, sir, you have misspelled "Barabbas."

    :D

    Zou
     
  9. Dred

    Dred First Sergeant

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2007
    Messages:
    1,014
    Location:
    Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
    Way to go wolfie...Is your mispeling Of Barabbas an indiction of your disdin for sekular humaneism? If Your goin too pik a fite about sumthing lyke speling, at leest mak sur ur oun post is cleen.

    Glad to hear about the Davis house tho. I lived in Biloxi for about 8 months or so back in 97 and I remember it was a beautiful house. My friend sent me some pics after the hurricane and I was saddened to see it so banged up.
     
  10. Beowulf

    Beowulf Banned

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2008
    Messages:
    1,173
    Location:
    Virginia
    You caught it before 5Fish or Dred! I can't say Dred caught it, because he could have just read it from yours.

    (I do reserve the right to test you guys once in awhile. It is one of my principle amusements!).

    Beowulf
     
  11. Beowulf

    Beowulf Banned

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2008
    Messages:
    1,173
    Location:
    Virginia
    I appreciate your sympathy, suh!

    Beowulf
     
  12. larry_cockerham

    larry_cockerham Southern Gentleman, Lest We Forget, 2011

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2005
    Messages:
    10,200
    Location:
    Nashville
    Much as it chagrins me to admit it, I believe my yankee nemesis Union Blue was on target with his jousting on your behalf.
     
  13. Beowulf

    Beowulf Banned

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2008
    Messages:
    1,173
    Location:
    Virginia
    He did NOT misspell it! I was merely trying to see if he meant GENTILE or GENTEEL! And I wasn't referring to him, so much as some I have seen who can't spell but can certainly attack!

    (I think he meant GENTEEL).

    This whole post attacks our president. It was set up for that purpose, and it did get the initial rise out of me which I believe was its object. I also read the entire thing, and could glean nothing further out of it than an inflammatory slight to Davis' anniversary.

    Cooper writes a whole bio on Davis, and then concludes with trash like 'let's don't make a celebration out of it'.

    How objective can his bio be seen as having been, in light of that? And since when do we need his permission to reenact the events of the past? I could care less what he thinks of reenacting!

    And you want to seem indignant with me because I seem to support Davis, and dare to see him as something other than a vehicle for derision? That I am not in lock-step with you?

    As Christopher Plummer (as Sherlock Holmes) said in MURDER BY DECREE:

    "If I sound offensive, sir, you may take it I am offended!"

    But I am not really offended. I just consider the source, and do what I can to correct the spelling and the messages. The attitudes, themselves, I fear, are LOST CAUSES!

    I am just trying to add balance.:angel:


    Beowulf
     
  14. ole

    ole Brev. Brig. Gen'l Retired Moderator

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2005
    Messages:
    31,012
    Location:
    Near Kankakee
    Not just for Beowulf! (Where's my mod hat?) We've existed for years on bad spelling, abysmal grammar and atrocious manners. And even worse typing. Is it too much to ask that we continue with that tolerance? I see no useful purpose to allow such little stuff to interfere with the point of a post.

    ole
     
  15. 5fish

    5fish 1st Lieutenant

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2007
    Messages:
    3,541
    Location:
    Central Florida
    Love fest!

    Sorry,

    I can't join this mild love fest for Jeff Davis for history gives this man a pass. He was the leader of a false cause that led to the death tens of thousands of Americans and he order the first shots of the war. He should be reviled the same way the Kaiser and Hitler are for the wars of great death they cause.

    One of the few redeeming things about him was he work for the south and his incompentance at managing the Rebel government and war effort was one of the main reasons for their defeat.

    He is not a victim of political correctness but a victim of being an unredeemed traitor.
     
  16. Beowulf

    Beowulf Banned

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2008
    Messages:
    1,173
    Location:
    Virginia
    This always fascinates me, 5Fish.

    Davis, and Kaiser Bill (as my grand-daddy, who fought him, called him), and Hitler were evil, to you?

    Yet, there's always this imperialist Yankee reverb about
    how, if they HAD RUN COMPETENT EMPIRES, they would not have been defeated.

    So, then, if any of them HAD WON, they would have deserved their governments, evil though you see them to be? (I know you don't voice that here, but many do! They go directly from saying how evil they were to giving Monday Morning advice about how they could have won! Like the yankee, in his 'backing into a championship' victory at Appomattox is the grand authority on HOW TO WIN!).

    Rule #1. Be REAL NICE when you ask for the surrender. This is always a nice touch, and
    adds to the moment, immeasurably. Offer to give the stolen food back, and promise not to publicly gloat. These things are always appreciated by 'the other side'.

    Oh, and you guys did the RIGHT THING and tried and convicted Davis of Treason, and had him hanged in front of the capitol in Washington City, on the same gallows that Wirz was murdered on! Nice touch! I have all the photographs from that account!

    Let's see. Those photographs... They are around here... somewhere... hmmmm.

    As to the first shots of the war. I have just received a publication I will be sharing with you guys soon, from a first hand account:

    (H.W. JOHNSTONE - The Truth of the War Conspiracy of 1861), which should put paid to WHO started the late conflict!

    I'll look forward to sharing with you during story hour!

    Beowulf
     
  17. cash

    cash Colonel

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2005
    Messages:
    15,844
    Location:
    Right here.
    You never spent a single second in the confederacy, so he wasn't your president.

    The confederacy was an illegal organization to start with, so legally he wasn't anyone's president.

    Note for the record, I don't claim he's an evil person. Just that he's not your president, nor was he legally anyone else's.

    Regards,
    Cash
     
  18. cash

    cash Colonel

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2005
    Messages:
    15,844
    Location:
    Right here.
    Davis, in my opinion, deserves credit for being one of, if not the, best Secretaries of War in our country's history.

    Now, I'm no defender of the confederacy by any stretch of the imagination, but I think we get problematical when we start reviling someone in Davis' position. He led a rebellion and committed treason against the US, but leading a rebellion and committing treason, and even ordering the start of a particular war, in and of themselves are not cause for reviling someone. After all, didn't Washington, John Adams, Sam Adams, Jefferson, Hamilton, et al lead a rebellion, commit treason against Great Britain, and precipitate a war? [especially Sam Adams in precipitating a war]. We revile Hitler not just for WW2 but mostly for the Holocaust that took place under his orders. Now, there are some wars of aggression for which I think one can be justly reviled, but I don't think the US Civil War falls into that category.

    Regards,
    Cash
     
  19. cash

    cash Colonel

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2005
    Messages:
    15,844
    Location:
    Right here.
    Propaganda. Hope you didn't pay money for that book.

    http://dlg.galileo.usg.edu/georgiabooks/pdfs/gb5130.pdf

    Regards,
    Cash
     
  20. matthew mckeon

    matthew mckeon Brigadier General Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2005
    Messages:
    7,388
    I agree with Cash, nothing is ever made clearer by comparsions with Hitler.
     
  21. timewalker

    timewalker Cadet

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2008
    Messages:
    1,123
    Location:
    Flower Mound, Texas
    Beowulf:

    You are simply incredible. The man makes a post, and then you attack him for making a statement which you then admit he didn't make!

    It is always easy to win a debate when you are debating a straw man, since you create it yourself.

    That being said, I honor Jefferson Davis. He was a traitor (yes, I know he was not convicted, but then neither was John Wilkes Booth). I have no doubt that if the government tried him he would have been convicted of treason, but there was no reason to have such a trial. He was, however, also a hero of the Mexican War, an able Secretary of War, and a man of his convictions - however wrong I believe those convictions to be. He was also, fortunately or unfortunately, a pretty poor president for the Confederacy and would have better served the cause as Secretary of War (or maybe even in the field, where he thought he would be).
     

(Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW!)

Share This Page