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02.07.01 Davis, Jefferson, The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government, published in 1881 by Belford

Notes Concerning the Author:

As the President of the Confederate States of America from 1861 to 1865 and blessed with a long life (1808-1889), Jefferson Davis was personally involved in the history of which he has written, taking advantage of records preserved and of dedicated input from other political and military leaders.  Consider his history of 1,266 pages as a valuable resource which ought to be used alongside the outstanding biographies by Hudson Strode and wife Varina Howell Davis.  Also consider adding to your library Davis’ A Short History of the Confederate States of America, published by Belford in 1890 and Hudson Strode’s Jefferson Davis, Private Letters, 1823-1889, published in 1966.  Jeff and Varina Howell Davis were more than husband and wife, more than father and mother, they were also a political team.  Suggest you get First Lady of the South, the Life of Mrs. Jefferson Davis, by Ishbel Ross, published in 1958.  You ought to also know that Jefferson Davis was truthful and honest throughout life and his Rise and Fall exhibits that philosophy.


 Jeff Davis begins his Preface with the following words:

The object of this work has been, from historical data, to show that the Southern States had rightfully the power to withdraw from a Union into which they had, as sovereign communities, voluntarily entered; that the denial of that right was a violation of the letter and spirit of the compact between the States; and that the war waged by the Federal Government against the seceding States was in disregard of the limitations of the [Federal] Constitution, and destructive of the principles of the Declaration of Independence.

The author, from his official position, may claim to have known much of the motives and acts of his countrymen immediately before and during the war of 1861-1865, and he has sought to furnish material for the future historian, who, when the passions and prejudices of the day shall have given place to reason and sober thought, may, better than a contemporary, investigate the causes, conduct, and results of the war.

This monumental work was Jeff Davis’ calling late in life as he compiled his records at a beach house on the Mississippi coast, collaborated with others, and with help from Sarah Dorsey and wife Varina, wrote his Rise and Fall.  You may visit that beach house, named Beauvoir.  It has survived a number of hurricanes, including Katrina.

Availability of this Book

This book, originally published by Belford in 1881, should be sought as a reprint.  For example, Da Capo Press published a paperback reprint in 1990.  It is not available as a Kindle e-book but may be found as a scanned digital book.  Also consider getting Jefferson Davis’ Short History of the Confederate States of America.