Jefferson Davis, American


Cooper, William J, “Jefferson Davis, American ,” One Book. One Author. One Hour., accessed February 2, 2023,


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Jefferson Davis, American


Cooper, William J


Program air date: April 8, 2001


West Point graduate, secretary of war under President Pierce, U.S. senator from Mississippi - how was it that this statesman and patriot came to be president of the Confederacy, leading the struggle to destroy the United States? This is the question at the center of William Cooper's biography of Jefferson Davis. Basing his account on the massive archival record left by Davis and his family and associates, Cooper delves not only into the events of Davis's public and personal life but also into the ideas that shaped and compelled him.--BOOK JACKET.


Transcription of Annotations

Notes on front endpapers: "Wed. Jan. 31, 11 a.m. - Varina: forceful personality, lack of civility, unnecessarily abrasive. Davis - a wealthy man: $35,000 to 40,000 a year; average income: $150 a yr. - Joseph and Varina didn't always get along. She was jealous for her husband's attention. - Lee - 1861-1865, 53 to 57 yrs. old. - Ft. Bragg, Kenner, La., Slidell, La. - John Breckenridge, V.P. under Buchanan, Sec. of War under Davis. - Congress; 1847; Cabinet: 1853-1857; Senate: 1857-1861.- Slave: 1835: Pemberton only slave; 1840: 35; during '40's: 72; final antebellum decade: 113; slave jury, forbade corporal punishment. - b. June 3, 1808: Christian County, Ky., named for Jefferson - he was 10th child; Baptist, Welsh; d. Dec. 6, 1889. - What about the bad eye? - July 1828: leaves West Point, not been home for 5 years; stationed Ft. Crawford, Wis., meets Sarah Knox Taylor. - June 17, 1835: marries Zachary Taylor's daughter in Louisville - he was 27; dies 3 months later of malaria. - 1845: Varina: 17 yrs. old - J.D. 35, 2 1/2 yrs. younger than her mother; wedding Feb. 26, 1845 at the Briar; elected to Congress in Nov. - Oregon / Cal. Mexican War; Texas became state 1845; Battle of Buena Vista - wounded foot. - 1847: Polk names Davis as Brig. General - he turned it down, p. 162; named Senator - he's 39 1/2 yrs. old - leaves Varina at home - unhappy with her. - 1853: Secretary of War - Pierce Admin. - Feb. 4, 1861: six states meet in Montgomery; p. 326: Constitutional convention, electoral college, unicameral congress; Confederate States of America. - Confederate consultations: affirmed slavery and states' right; Davis triumphed easily, no one else got votes. - Goes to Montgomery - doesn't return to Brierfield for 7 years. - He [?] throughout the book - he never [?] discussion; father fought in Revolution; 3 brothers fought with Jackson at New Orleans; Davis entered West Point at 16. - 1848: Wilmot Proviso: northern democrats insisted on it. - Z. Taylor runs as a Whig - Lewis Cass for Democrats; Popular Sovereignty. - [?]Scott. - John Calhoun: what was his impact? - Wilmot Proviso: prohibit slavery in any state taken or purchased from Mexico. - Missouri Compromise: blocked slavery north of 36° 30'." - Notes on front flyleaf: p. 195: Foote and Davis had altercation - Christmas Day 1847; pistols in the room; issue was popular sovereignty; 2 years later in New Orleans another flare-up. - First child born 1852: Samuel Emory Davis. - His eye problem - Type I herpes simplex virus. - Governor contest: Foote and Quitman pummeled each other. - 1851: Davis resigned from Senate, runs for Governor against Foote. - State Rights vs. Union Party. - Davis denounced compromise of 1850. - Sec. of War - immediate staff: 11 (p. 250); Army: 10,417. - Winfield Scott ran for Pres. (Whig), 1852 - kept his [?] Pierce (Brig. Gen.) assigned to Scott's command; went to Senate after 4 years as Sec. of War. - Davis tried to belittle Win. Scott - soup story - Varine's dinner party (p. 254). - Ft. Sumter: 4:30 a.m. April 12, 1861. - The [?] Scott decision; John Brown's raid at Harper's Ferry. - What did Davis think of Blacks fighting for Confederacy. " -- Notes on back flyleaf: "Jan. 5, 1861: a caucus of senators from state moving toward secession, called for a creation of a Southern Confederacy. - Davis' West Point days: courts martial; finished 163 out of 208. - How many men who had been active in government in the North moved to join Southern government? - Ft. Monroe Conference: Lincoln and Seward participated; 5 men met on Lincoln's steamer; mission failed. - Did Davis ever meet Lincoln? He called Lincoln "His Majesty Abraham the First". - Davis against 13th Amendment - abolition of slavery. - Davis was willing to sever slavery for European recognition. - p. 287-288: 1858: Lecompton, Feb. 13 - Davis laid up for 2 months, depressed, painful illness, eye inflamed, darkened rooms; Senator William Seward visit daily." -- Notes on back endpapers: "p. 623: Relationship with two generals - at odds with Pierre Beauregard, Joseph Johnston. - Jubal Early - Southern Historical Society. - Juday Benjamin. - 1885: T.R. associated Davis with Benedict Arnold. - Book of his New England Speeches to counter Albert Brown; named his son Joseph instead of William, upset Varina. Varina had no use for Joseph, letting him know how she felt; Jefferson - Joseph - Varina: rigid triangle. - Andrew Johnson accused J.D. of complicity in Lincoln's death. - Fortress Monroe - in prison - visited by Taylor brother-in-law, shackled before prison. - Sarah Dorsey - she dies 1879 - at Beauvoir - where Davis lived. Varina, a contemporary - didn't want to go there but did and got along with Sarah, especially when Varina turned ill. - 1876: Davis became Pres. of International Chamber of Commerce; he was 68, has a 12 year old daughter (Winnie). - Canadian stay: Montreal and Lennoxville - small hotel, fell down stairs, broke two ribs (p. 576); moved to London, Paris; Joseph dies at about 86, son Billy dies at 11; back to U.S.: Memphis, Peabody Hotel, Varina's health. - p. 508: 1865: Mounting criticism of Davis, becomes an inviting target: 1) erred in removing Gen. Joseph Johnston, 2) mismanaged Western war, 3) had interfered with generals in the field. - The end of Davis' presidency, p. 534. - Scene near Irwinville, May 10, 1865. - 1881: 'Rise and Fall' is published, Davis takes possession of Brierfield. - Ben Montgomery - a slave; Davis never thought they could succeed. - Became President of Carolina Life Memphis, resigned Aug. 25, 1873; has no money. - 1875: started working on book - 'Rise and Fall', 4 years - neuralgia, bronchial difficulties, eye disease, problem right hip - all interrupted process. - 1881: 2 volumes, one - 700 p., two - 800 p." -- Annotations by Brian Lamb in the margins and underlining of pertinent phrases throughout the book.


"Davis, Jefferson, 1808-1889."
"Presidents--Confederate States of America--Biography."
"Statesmen--United States--Biography."


Brian Lamb Booknotes Collection
Gift of Brian Lamb, 2011.


Alfred A. Knopf
George Mason University. Libraries. Special Collections & Archives


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1st ed.