November 6, 1861
Jefferson Davis Elected President of the Confederate States of America
Who was president during the Civil War? If you were from a Northern state, you answered Abraham Lincoln. If you were from a Southern state, you may have answered Jefferson Davis.
On November 6, 1861, Jefferson Davis was elected president, not of the United States of America but of the Confederate States of America. He ran unopposed and was elected to serve for a six-year term. Davis had already been serving as the temporary president for almost a year.
How do you think President Lincoln, who had earlier been elected president of the United States, reacted to the Southern election?
As a U.S. senator from Mississippi, Davis had tried to keep the Union together. When Mississippi seceded from the Union, however, Davis became a Confederate man.
After his inauguration as provisional, or temporary, president in February 1861, Davis sent a peace commission to Washington. Lincoln, committed to preserving the Union, refused to see the ambassadors from the South.
With war threatening, Lincoln sent armed ships to resupply Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina. Davis responded by ordering the bombing of the fort on April 12, 1861. The attack marked the beginning of the Civil War.