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10.12.01 Bledsoe, Albert Taylor, Is Jefferson Davis a Traitor; or Was Secession a Constitutional Right Previous to the War of 1861”?, published in 1866 during Davis’ imprisonment.

Notes Concerning the Author

The author, Albert Taylor Bledsoe, (1809-1877) was one of the most talented men to hail from the South. His experiences as a soldier, educator, lawyer and clergyman prepared him well for the task he would have after the guns were silenced at Appomattox. Former Confederate leaders knew Northern historians would vilify their quest for independence and Northern politicians would try to link secession with treason to punish them. They looked to Bledsoe for their vindication.

Our Review

Former President of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis, upon capture was the example the North needed to validate the connection between secession and treason. His conviction of treason would justify the Radical Republicans ruthless treatment of the post war South. For two years Davis languished in prison under inhumane conditions awaiting his day in court knowing that a trial would vindicate not only him but his beloved South. The publication of Bledsoe’s book in 1866, effectively destroyed any arguments Northern prosecutors might have to legally bind secession to treason. Bledsoe’s arguments and examples supporting state sovereignty, the right of secession, and the framers original intent of the Constitution were so compelling that prosecutors knew the case against Davis could not be won, and he was released from custody on a legal technicality. While Jefferson Davis did not get the trial he so desired, the American people finally got the unequivocal truth about the right of secession.

This book should be required reading for any college course about the War for Southern Independence.

Availability of this Book

Recently republished in 2008 as “Is Secession Treason?” this recent book gives ready access to an unabridged version of the 1866 book, “Is Davis a traitor; or Was secession a constitutional right previous to the war of 1861”.  The new book, edited by Paul Dennis Sporer, contains 224 pages.