Jefferson Davis, Confederate President

By Kohl, Lawrence Frederick | South Carolina Historical Magazine, January 2005 | Go to article overview

Jefferson Davis, Confederate President


Kohl, Lawrence Frederick, South Carolina Historical Magazine


Jefferson Davis, Confederate President. By Herman Hattaway and Richard E. Beringer. (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2002. Pp. xix, 542; $39.95, cloth.)

The new millennium has seen a remarkable renewal of interest in the life of Jefferson Davis. In the past few years William Cooper, Jr., Felicity Alien, and William C. Davis have churned out major biographies of this critical Confederate. Hattaway and Beringer's offering is not intended to be a full biography, as it treats only Davis's years as president of the Confederacy. And despite the title, it does not always keep its focus on Davis. The book is perhaps closer to being a history of his presidential administration, for Davis himself disappears for long stretches as the authors detail the workings of the Confederate government. In fact, the narrative line is sometimes sufficiently discontinuous and the range of information presented about the Confederacy so vast (from the fact that the postmaster general wanted more artistic stamps to the rates of venereal disease among combat troops) that the book reads more like an encyclopedia of the Confederacy.

The Davis that emerges from this volume is a serious, hard-working, but flawed man. Hypersensitive to criticism, he relied on friends and cronies for important positions in government and the army to the detriment of the cause. Though he habitually involved himself in the minutiae of governing, he was indecisive. He lacked passion, charisma, and the ability to inspire. Though he devoutly believed in the Confederate cause, he could not convince the southern people to make the sacrifices that were necessary to achieve it. Hattaway and Beringer maintain that in the final months of the war Davis was so detached from reality that he lived in a world made only of his visionary hopes for a continuation of the struggle.

In order to describe Davis's presidential style, Hattaway and Beringer make use of a model devised by political scientist James David Barber to describe twentieth-century presidencies. According to this model, Davis was an "active-negative" president. Active-negative presidents are perfectionists who tend to pursue lofty goals in a rigid, controlled, and sometimes almost messianic manner. They react very badly to failure (which commonly befalls such types) because the causes they pursue are really public attempts to achieve a personal self-esteem that has been missing since childhood. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Jefferson Davis, Confederate President
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.