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Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederacy (American National Biography)


Paul D. Escott, "Davis, Jefferson," American National Biography Online, February 2000,

Davis built a powerful central government. He saw himself as a strict constructionist but never doubted that the Confederate Constitution gave him war powers that were necessary in the crisis. From the first he insisted that state troops come under the central government's control, and when four state governors sought the return of state-owned arms he declared in disgust that "if such was to be the course of the States . . . we had better make terms as soon as we could." Despite enormous local pressures, Davis insisted that "the idea of retaining in each State its own troops for its own defense" was a "fatal error. . . . Our safety--our very existence--depends on the complete blending of the military strength of all the States into one united body, to be used anywhere and everywhere as the exigencies of the contest may require."
How to Cite This Page: "Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederacy (American National Biography)," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College,