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Jefferson Davis, Collapse of the Confedaracy (American National Biography)

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Paul D. Escott, "Davis, Jefferson," American National Biography Online, February 2000, http://www.anb.org/articles/04/04-00300.html.

The common people of the Confederacy grew disaffected not for ideological reasons, but because their conditions of life became intolerable. Often they favored stronger government action if it would alleviate suffering. Impoverished soldiers' families also resented the privileges enjoyed by planters, particularly those related to the draft, such as the exemption of overseers and the ability of those with means to hire a substitute. The combination of poverty and resentment over a "rich man's war and a poor man's fight" nourished a growing stream of desertions from the Confederate ranks. To these problems Davis was largely insensitive. He allowed inequitable policies to become law, and later, when more perceptive officials such as Commissioner of Taxes Thompson Allen or Secretary of War James Seddon urged measures to alleviate distress, he concluded that resources were too limited to allow action. His neglect of the common people's suffering led directly to military weakness...After the Civil War Davis was imprisoned for two years at Fortress Monroe in Hampton Roads. Despite damage to his health, he survived and carried himself through the postwar years as a defeated but unrepentant Confederate.
How to Cite This Page: "Jefferson Davis, Collapse of the Confedaracy (American National Biography)," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College, http://hd.housedivided.dickinson.edu/node/15950.