Jefferson Davis: Inaugural Address to the Confederacy

(1861)

In early 1861 representatives of the states seceding from the United States elected Jefferson Davis as president of their provisional government, and his selection as president of the Confederate States of America required that he deliver an inaugural address. Jefferson Davis's Inaugural Address, delivered on February 18, 1861, pointed toward a tentative plan for the seceding states’ future.

Contemporary observers had anticipated that South Carolina would lead the way to secession and drag along other Deep South states. They were correct. South Carolina's secession on December 20, 1860, created a chain reaction, as one Deep South state after another passed ordinances of secession. When Davis delivered his Inaugural Address, the six additional Deep South states (Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas) had followed the lead of South Carolina and withdrawn from the Union. In February 1861, as Davis spoke, contemporaries waited to see what Virginia would...

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Jefferson Davis (Library of Congress)

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