The five-year period from 1841 to 1846 saw the beginning of Jefferson Davis’ political career. In this, the second volume of The Papers of Jefferson Davis, the documents cover Davis’ unsuccessful race for the state legislature, his selection as a Democratic state elector, his marriage to Varina Howell, his election to the U.S. House of Representatives, and his departure therefrom to assume command of the First Mississippi Regiment in the Mexican War.
In the congressional documents Davis emerges as a hardworking freshman representative who quicky won for himself the respect and esteem of his fellow congressmen. There were, however, notable exceptions. One such exception was Andrew Johnson, a tailor by trade, who strongly resented Davis’ remark on the floor of the House that a “blacksmith or tailor” could not be expected to achieve the same results in battle as a trained military man. In the somewhat bitter exchange that followed, some have professed to see the beginnings of the long-standing animosity between Johnson and Davis.
The 255 documents in this volume (two appendixes contain undated and late-arriving items) provide a clear picture of Jefferson Davis, the man and the politician, and give an intimate view of Mississippi in the 1840s.
Throughout the volume are rumblings of the then distant storm that was to break so disastrously over the nation in the 1860s.
Publication of The Papers of Jefferson Davis is sponsored by William Marsh Rice University and the Jefferson Davis Association. Frank E. Vandiver, well-known historian, is president of the Association and the chief advisory editor. Other advisory editors include Charlotte Capers, Bruce Catton, Thomas L. Connelly, Philip F. Detweiler, Richard B. Harwell, Thomas R. Hay, Oliver W. Holmes, James I. Robertson, Jr., Hudson Strode, Bell I. Wiley, and T. Harry Williams.
The books in the Papers of Jefferson Daivs series were made possible with assistance from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.
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