The first and only President of the Confederate States of America during the Civil War, Jefferson F. Davis (1808-1889) was born on this day in Fairview, Kentucky. The youngest of 10 children, he graduated from West Point with classmate Robert E. Lee.
Biographer William J. Cooper Jr. said that Davis "saw himself as a faithful American... a true son of the American Revolution and the Founding Fathers."
Elected to the House of Representatives in 1845, he served with honor in the Mexican war (1846-1847), then joined the Senate in 1848. Following an unsuccessful run for governor of Mississippi, Davis was appointed Secretary of War in 1853 by Franklin Pierce.
"Neither current events nor history show that the majority rule, or ever did rule," he said.
Following the succession of South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas, Davis was elected President of the Confederacy in 1861 and served until his capture in 1865.
An advocate of Southern rights, he once said, "I worked night and day for twelve years to prevent the war, but I could not. The North was mad and blind, would not let us govern ourselves, and so the war came."
Davis was imprisoned for two years (1865-1867), but was never brought to trial. His citizenship was restored by then-President Jimmy Carter in 1978. Davis' birth anniversary is celebrated as Confederate Memorial Day in Tennessee, a special day for honoring the Confederate war heroes.
"If the Confederacy fails, there should be written on its tombstone: Died of a Theory," Davis said.
Choose humility if you can.