Discussion Jefferson Davis was a compromise candidate for provisional president of the CSA

John Fenton

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Jefferson Davis was not the first choice of many delegates at the Southern constitutional convention, which met at Montgomery, Alabama, on the 4th of February 1861 . A dozen delegates at the Confederate Congress quickly wrote a provisional constitution and proclaimed Davis as provisional president of the Confederate States of America, with Alexander Stephens as vice president. this was a compromise.
In this election there seems to have been little of intrigue or political scheming. "The qualifications of Davis, Cobb, and Toombs were quietly canvassed, but the differ- ences were not so pressed as to cause delay of action or any ill feeling. Some deputies favored Cobb, some Toombs, but Davis received unanimous and cordial support."" The choice of Davis was warranted by many considerations [none mention a TRR]. A long and honorable career in the public service as representative, senator, and cabinet member had given him the necessary training for the presidency. He had, moreover, won merited fame in the war with Mexico and as secretary of war under Pierce had further increased his knowledge of military tactics and organization. It was natural, also, that t-he South should look to this conservative successor of Calhoun in the defense of slavery and the sovereignty of the State as their leader during the uncertain times that lay before them.
As the sessions of the Confederate Congress were closed to the public and secrecy strictly maintained as to the most of its pro- ceedings, while no records were kept of its debates, the account of any of its activities must necessarily be based upon fragmentary sources.
Davis’ appointment was largely political; he was a compromise candidate chosen to appease both the moderate and radical factions in the Congress. Davis, however, did not want the job. He had hoped for a military command.
After privately considering William Yancey, Howell Cobb, Robert Toombs, Alexander Stephens, and Robert Barnwell Rhett for President of the Confederate States of America, the Convention settles on Jefferson Davis. They select Alexander Stephens, both pro-Union and a friend of Abraham Lincoln, as vice-president . Davis and Stephens each received 6 votes.
"Stephens thought that Toombs would have been the choice of th-e Con- gress had a misunderstanding not arisen in the Georgia delegation. Stephens, WTar between the States, II, 329-331. See a:,so Pollard, Life of Jeffcrso-n Davis and Secret History of the Con fe0!rrcy , 61, who states that R. M. T. Hunter was slated for the presidency, with Jefferson Davis as secretary of war. A further discussion is given in Dodd's Jeffrcson Davis, 216-222, andl in Phillips' Life of Robert Too0nbs, 22-226. 4"He was selected because the opponelnts of secession and the conserva- tive Virginians could unite upon him." Dodd, 226.
Yet Davis probably preferred a high military commission to the position of executive. He says that he took what he considered "adequate precautions" to prevent his selection by the Montgomery assembly;" while Mrs. Davis notes that the sudden news of his nomination so deeply pained him that he spoke of it "as a man might speak of a sentence of death." His acceptance of the place, however, was not long delayed and he soon appeared before Congress to take the oath of office.
https://constitutioncenter.org/blog/jefferson-davis-and-abraham-lincoln-dueling-inaugural-addresses
http://blueandgraytrail.com/event/Convention_of_Seceding_States
https://www.battlefields.org/learn/biographies/jefferson-davis
https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/30237274.pdf?refreqid=excelsior:1a6e88da12b41639361a978b73b02a8e


Davis and Stephens ran unopposed in the permanent elections.


 

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uaskme

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I think you Nailed it. The only Candidate who HAD Railroad experience. He had extensive Railroad experience. Led the Pacific Railroad Surveys, which were designed to scientifically determine the Route. Surveys didn’t accomplish that. The Debate continued, up until the Civil War. Who led that Debate for the South, Jefferson Davis. The biggest most important Technological advancement of the period was the Railroad.

Might surprise you, I think most of this has surprised people who have never research this Issue. Lincoln was know, as the Rail Splitter. He had investments along the Central Route. His biggest clients during his Law Career were the Railroads. Douglas had extensive experience trying to get the Central Route advanced. The TRR, was on all 3 Party Platforms in 1860. I don't suspect people forgot about the TRR, when Davis was selected? Davis had a Plantation close to Vicksburg. Vicksburg was in the running for the TRR. So, all these selected Candidates had personal as well as Political Commitments to the Railroads.:

In spite of these possible contenders, the balloting held little suspense. With four votes needed to win, no one seriously challenged Davis. The testimony make clear that he was the choice of Mississippi, Louisiana, and Florida, in addition, he had a majority in South Carolina, even though some, of the Palmetto Staters worried about his conservation. Alabama also came to him, influenced by commissioners sent by the state of Virginia, who reported that leading men in Virginia wanted Davis, in Georgia delegates had united behind one, especially Cobb, and pushed hard, they might have sparked a contest. But without a serious challenge from Georgia, Davis triumphed easily. In all likelihood he would have won anyway. When on February 9, the delegates met to elect a chief executive, they placed in nomination only one name: Jefferson Davis. No one else received a vote. pp351-352 Jefferson Davis by Cooper

Yancey never uttered a negative word about the selection of Davis. In fact, conspicuously among the fire-eaters, Yancey gave every indication that all would be well with President Davis at the helm. And given Yancey's prominence in provoking secession and as a leading citizen in the new Confederate capital, Governor Moore selected him to give the official greeting for Davis when he finally arrived in Montgomery on the evening of February 16. pp294 Yancey by Walther

Wonder what Yancey, saw in Davis? Oh. My, the plot thickens!


Heck of a coincidence? People seem to be Mesmerized by the subject. Here, we have another Thread.
 
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John Fenton

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I think you Nailed it.
Yes i think i did nail it. You bent the nail.
" The choice of Davis was warranted by many considerations [none , not one, mention a TRR]. A long and honorable career in the public service as representative, senator, and cabinet member had given him the necessary training for the presidency. He had, moreover, won merited fame in the war with Mexico and as secretary of war under Pierce had further increased his knowledge of military tactics and organization. It was natural, also, that t-he South should look to this conservative successor of Calhoun in the defense of slavery and the sovereignty of the State as their leader during the uncertain times that lay before them.
Yet Davis probably preferred a high military commission to the position of executive. He says that he took what he considered "adequate precautions" to prevent his selection by the Montgomery assembly;" while Mrs. Davis notes that the sudden news of his nomination so deeply pained him that he spoke of it "as a man might speak of a sentence of death.
A TRR was never mentioned in connection with the choice of Davis and he probably would not have been picked at all if not for intrasectional squabbling .
Davis was picked because he was acceptable to all parties but was not the first choice of any. The debate was held in secret and he was not there and did not want the job. He wanted a command.
Yancey saw in him a leader that all factions could unite behind, nothing more.
The idea that a TRR was preeminent in so many decisions and yet not talked about is ludicrous .
Without the controversy in Georgia, Alexander Stephens claims Toombs would have been chosen.
You make many assumptions that simply are not in the record.
 

John Fenton

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Here, we have another Thread.
Post all the threads you want and it won’t change the fact that you are wrong. Screaming about evidence without providing any does not make it so. I simply enjoy your tenacity . I would love to see one piece of hard documented evidence that says a TRR was all that you say it was. If you say something enough some folks might believe it but it doesn’t make it true.
 

uaskme

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Yes i think i did nail it. You bent the nail.
" The choice of Davis was warranted by many considerations [none , not one, mention a TRR]. A long and honorable career in the public service as representative, senator, and cabinet member had given him the necessary training for the presidency. He had, moreover, won merited fame in the war with Mexico and as secretary of war under Pierce had further increased his knowledge of military tactics and organization. It was natural, also, that t-he South should look to this conservative successor of Calhoun in the defense of slavery and the sovereignty of the State as their leader during the uncertain times that lay before them.
Yet Davis probably preferred a high military commission to the position of executive. He says that he took what he considered "adequate precautions" to prevent his selection by the Montgomery assembly;" while Mrs. Davis notes that the sudden news of his nomination so deeply pained him that he spoke of it "as a man might speak of a sentence of death.
A TRR was never mentioned in connection with the choice of Davis and he probably would not have been picked at all if not for intrasectional squabbling .
Davis was picked because he was acceptable to all parties but was not the first choice of any. The debate was held in secret and he was not there and did not want the job. He wanted a command.
Yancey saw in him a leader that all factions could unite behind, nothing more.
The idea that a TRR was preeminent in so many decisions and yet not talked about is ludicrous .
Without the controversy in Georgia, Alexander Stephens claims Toombs would have been chosen.
You make many assumptions that simply are not in the record.
Secretary of War under Pierce, he spent a lot of time with the Pacific Railroad Surveys. Pierce calls Davis, his Chief Advisor. During the Buchanan Administration, the Debate still raged over the TRR, Davis was its strongest Advocate. This has been repeated Time and again, with primary Sources.

The Reason, you have never heard of it, is because you have Never Studied it. Evidently you discount everything that has been Quoted with Sources. I used 4 or 5 different sources on the last Thread.

If you care about this subject, get you a good book. Study it.

You have never heard it, so it can’t be true. You’ve never heard of it, because you have never studied it.
 
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leftyhunter

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Jefferson Davis was not the first choice of many delegates at the Southern constitutional convention, which met at Montgomery, Alabama, on the 4th of February 1861 . A dozen delegates at the Confederate Congress quickly wrote a provisional constitution and proclaimed Davis as provisional president of the Confederate States of America, with Alexander Stephens as vice president. this was a compromise.
In this election there seems to have been little of intrigue or political scheming. "The qualifications of Davis, Cobb, and Toombs were quietly canvassed, but the differ- ences were not so pressed as to cause delay of action or any ill feeling. Some deputies favored Cobb, some Toombs, but Davis received unanimous and cordial support."" The choice of Davis was warranted by many considerations [none mention a TRR]. A long and honorable career in the public service as representative, senator, and cabinet member had given him the necessary training for the presidency. He had, moreover, won merited fame in the war with Mexico and as secretary of war under Pierce had further increased his knowledge of military tactics and organization. It was natural, also, that t-he South should look to this conservative successor of Calhoun in the defense of slavery and the sovereignty of the State as their leader during the uncertain times that lay before them.
As the sessions of the Confederate Congress were closed to the public and secrecy strictly maintained as to the most of its pro- ceedings, while no records were kept of its debates, the account of any of its activities must necessarily be based upon fragmentary sources.
Davis’ appointment was largely political; he was a compromise candidate chosen to appease both the moderate and radical factions in the Congress. Davis, however, did not want the job. He had hoped for a military command.
After privately considering William Yancey, Howell Cobb, Robert Toombs, Alexander Stephens, and Robert Barnwell Rhett for President of the Confederate States of America, the Convention settles on Jefferson Davis. They select Alexander Stephens, both pro-Union and a friend of Abraham Lincoln, as vice-president . Davis and Stephens each received 6 votes.
"Stephens thought that Toombs would have been the choice of th-e Con- gress had a misunderstanding not arisen in the Georgia delegation. Stephens, WTar between the States, II, 329-331. See a:,so Pollard, Life of Jeffcrso-n Davis and Secret History of the Con fe0!rrcy , 61, who states that R. M. T. Hunter was slated for the presidency, with Jefferson Davis as secretary of war. A further discussion is given in Dodd's Jeffrcson Davis, 216-222, andl in Phillips' Life of Robert Too0nbs, 22-226. 4"He was selected because the opponelnts of secession and the conserva- tive Virginians could unite upon him." Dodd, 226.
Yet Davis probably preferred a high military commission to the position of executive. He says that he took what he considered "adequate precautions" to prevent his selection by the Montgomery assembly;" while Mrs. Davis notes that the sudden news of his nomination so deeply pained him that he spoke of it "as a man might speak of a sentence of death." His acceptance of the place, however, was not long delayed and he soon appeared before Congress to take the oath of office.
https://constitutioncenter.org/blog/jefferson-davis-and-abraham-lincoln-dueling-inaugural-addresses
http://blueandgraytrail.com/event/Convention_of_Seceding_States
https://www.battlefields.org/learn/biographies/jefferson-davis
https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/30237274.pdf?refreqid=excelsior:1a6e88da12b41639361a978b73b02a8e


Davis and Stephens ran unopposed in the permanent elections.


In the book "Jefferson Davis American" William Cooper ; Cooper notes that Davis suffered from severe neuralgia so a field command for Davis would if been highly problematic.
Leftyhunter
 

John Fenton

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Secretary of War under Pierce, he spent a lot of time with the Pacific Railroad Surveys. Pierce calls Davis, his Chief Advisor. During the Buchanan Administration, the Debate still raged over the TRR, Davis was its strongest Advocate. This has been repeated Time and again, with primary Sources.

The Reason, you have never heard of it, is because you have Never Studied it. Evidently you discount everything that has been Quoted with Sources. I used 4 or 5 different sources on the last Thread.

If you can about this subject, get you a good book. Study it.

You have never heard it, so it can’t be true. You’ve never heard of it, because you have never studied it.
i can find sources that say davis advocated for a TRR at times. i can find sources that say he authorized surveys. i can find sources that say davis was picked as the provisional president of the confederacy for various reasons. i can find sources that say american, north and south , sought trade with asia. i can find sources that say the south built some RRs. what i can not find are any sources that name a TRR as the primary reason for sectional differences that precipitated or caused the ACW or the appointment of Davis as President or that his "experience" with railroads, which only consisted of surveys, was a contribution factor.
if you know of any please cite them. those that have been cited do not directly say or imply otherwise. i would be glad to read them if they actually make the points above but not those that you can work into your narrative through lack of proof and are only speculation or mind reading.
 

John Fenton

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In the book "Jefferson Davis American" William Cooper ; Cooper notes that Davis suffered from severe neuralgia so a field command for Davis would if been highly problematic.
Leftyhunter
and yet it was his desire.
Davis resigned his Senate seat and returned home, sick at heart. He accepted the position of major general to command the state’s army and prepare the state for defense.
Varina Davis would later write that she thought surely some family member had died when she saw his reaction to the telegram. Duty-bound, he left the next day for Montgomery, Alabama, to accept the presidency. Davis was chosen as president because no other southerner had a military and political record equal to his.

http://mshistorynow.mdah.state.ms.us/articles/287/jefferson-davis-1808-1889
 

unionblue

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A good source for Jefferson Davis and how he became president of the Confederacy is the book, Look Away!: A History Of The Confederate States Of America, by William C. Davis.

I suggest starting with chapter 3, Visions Of Breakers Ahead, page 63, to see all the factions and plots to get down to picking Davis as President.

It's a good read.

Unionblue
 

John Fenton

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Jefferson Davis was, in many ways, a logical choice to be the new president.

He was probably the most eminent Southern statesman of the late antebellum years. He occupied a position somewhat like that which John C. Calhoun had held for many years, although he was not as great a thinker as Calhoun and didn’t inspire quite the admiration among white Southerners as Calhoun had.

Davis made sense as a leader for this new nation. A senator from Mississippi, he had been Secretary of War and had occupied a number of other important positions. He was, at best, a lukewarm secessionist. He had not been in the vanguard of the secession movement in Mississippi, or for the South as a whole. He had embraced it reluctantly as he saw the situation coming to a point where the South might really be at a disadvantage.

Alexander Stephens was a former Whig. He was an even more reluctant secessionist than Jefferson Davis. He was a Georgian. Georgia had been tremendously divided over the question of secession. There were bitter, bitter debates in Georgia during the secession crisis, and Alexander Stephens had been a moderate voice in Georgia during those debates after the election of Abraham Lincoln. He steadfastly had sought a way out of the crisis of secession, but here he was as the provisional vice president of this new Confederate States of America.
A Message of Moderation

The delegates of the Confederate Convention selected these men, first of all, because they were able men. But they were also chosen, probably, to send a message to the eight slave states that were still in the Union. That message was: We’re setting up a reasonable government that could accommodate the wishes and needs of you less strident slave states.

That same kind of moderate thinking caused the convention to refuse to reopen the African slave trade.

A number of radicals pushed to reopen the slave trade, but the convention said no. They knew that they would lose some of the militant secessionists on that point, but they also knew that many in the Upper South had been against the slave trade for years and that foreign observers, especially England and France, were against the slave trade.

So, in all, there was a very moderate group at work in Montgomery, Alabama.
https://www.thegreatcoursesdaily.com/how-the-american-confederacy-was-born/

William Yancey was not a delegate.
 

John Fenton

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A good source for Jefferson Davis and how he became president of the Confederacy is the book, Look Away!: A History Of The Confederate States Of America, by William C. Davis.

I suggest starting with chapter 3, Visions Of Breakers Ahead, page 63, to see all the factions and plots to get down to picking Davis as President.

It's a good read.

Unionblue
I do not have a copy, can not find one online, and can not afford to order one just now.
could you give a hint of what we might find in it ?
 

leftyhunter

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and yet it was his desire.
Davis resigned his Senate seat and returned home, sick at heart. He accepted the position of major general to command the state’s army and prepare the state for defense.
Varina Davis would later write that she thought surely some family member had died when she saw his reaction to the telegram. Duty-bound, he left the next day for Montgomery, Alabama, to accept the presidency. Davis was chosen as president because no other southerner had a military and political record equal to his.

http://mshistorynow.mdah.state.ms.us/articles/287/jefferson-davis-1808-1889
No doubt Davis would rather of been a general. Cooper makes a very compelling case Davis would not of survived being in the field. Davis was often bed ridden in excruciating pain while being President if the Confederacy. I don't recall his medical condition being as bad post President. Just speculation but Davis was under heavy psychological pressure and his young son dying from an accidental fall certainly didn't help his psychological well-being.
Leftyhunter
 

uaskme

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No doubt Davis would rather of been a general. Cooper makes a very compelling case Davis would not of survived being in the field. Davis was often bed ridden in excruciating pain while being President if the Confederacy. I don't recall his medical condition being as bad post President. Just speculation but Davis was under heavy psychological pressure and his young son dying from an accidental fall certainly didn't help his psychological well-being.
Leftyhunter
Kind of like Chump Sherman?
 

unionblue

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I do not have a copy, can not find one online, and can not afford to order one just now.
could you give a hint of what we might find in it ?
@John Fenton ,

What you will find in the pages of the book I gave above is the number of candidates being considered for the post of president for the Confederacy and how they were rated.

There was John C. Breckinridge, the incumbent vice-president of the United States, called a moderate, universally liked, diplomatic, and to some degree charismatic.

There was Robert M. T. Hunter of Virginia, former US senator and Speaker of the House.

Alexander H. Stephens was considered for his intellect and political experience.

Robert Toombs was also a candidate for the office, until a drinking binge in Montgomery blew him out of the running.

The main problem in picking a suitable candidate for the office was the divisions among the fire-eater radicals and the moderates. The book gives the reasons for such divisions and the backroom tactics in each sides campaign to get "their" man into that office.

It finally came down to Davis because he was eventually accepted by all sides with the delegates finally voting him into that office.

Hope that helps,
Unionblue
 

unionblue

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I do not have a copy, can not find one online, and can not afford to order one just now.
could you give a hint of what we might find in it ?
@John Fenton ,

What you will find in the pages of the book I gave above is the number of candidates being considered for the post of president for the Confederacy and how they were rated.

There was John C. Breckinridge, the incumbent vice-president of the United States, called a moderate, universally liked, diplomatic, and to some degree charismatic.

There was Robert M. T. Hunter of Virginia, former US senator and Speaker of the House.

Alexander H. Stephens was considered for his intellect and political experience.

Robert Toombs was also a candidate for the office, until a drinking binge in Montgomery blew him out of the running.

The main problem in picking a suitable candidate for the office was the divisions among the fire-eater radicals and the moderates. The book gives the reasons for such divisions and the backroom tactics in each sides campaign to get "their" man into that office.

It finally came down to Davis because he was eventually accepted by all sides with the delegates finally voting him into that office.

Hope that helps,
Unionblue
 

unionblue

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I do not have a copy, can not find one online, and can not afford to order one just now.
could you give a hint of what we might find in it ?
@John Fenton ,

What you will find in the pages of the book I gave above is the number of candidates being considered for the post of president for the Confederacy and how they were rated.

There was John C. Breckinridge, the incumbent vice-president of the United States, called a moderate, universally liked, diplomatic, and to some degree charismatic.

There was Robert M. T. Hunter of Virginia, former US senator and Speaker of the House.

Alexander H. Stephens was considered for his intellect and political experience.

Robert Toombs was also a candidate for the office, until a drinking binge in Montgomery blew him out of the running.

The main problem in picking a suitable candidate for the office was the divisions among the fire-eater radicals and the moderates. The book gives the reasons for such divisions and the backroom tactics in each sides campaign to get "their" man into that office.

It finally came down to Davis because he was eventually accepted by all sides with the delegates finally voting him into that office.

Hope that helps,
Unionblue
 


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