Past is Prologue

Clint Schemmer writes about history, heritage preservation and the American Civil War.  On Facebook: Past is Prologue  On Twitter: @prologuepast  ContactEmail Clint or call 540/374-5424.

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William Cooper on Jeff Davis

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William J. Cooper, author of Jefferson Davis as War Leader, starts off with a fine joke about his subject, Confederate President Jefferson Davis, being used to playing second fiddle to Abraham Lincoln.

Davis, he says, felt that the evacuation from any territory was critical. It would cause the disintegration of the Confederate nation.

But he didn’t have enough troops to properly defend the Confederacy’s vast territory. Withdrawing from any area meant “not only losing ground, but soldiers and loyalty.”

He always looked to American Revolution–the “severe crucible” of American nationalism– for inspiration and pointed to his father’s legacy as one of the Revolutionary War’s patriots.

The Civil War, he told his constituents, “has made us a band of brothers. … Soldiers have become linked in a most sacred cause.”

Cooper says Davis saw the Civil War as a fight between liberty and despotism.

Throughout the war, he always stressed the link between the patriots of the founding generation and the Confederacy’s present-day patriots endeavoring to create the Confederacy.

Cooper says Davis knew full well slavery was a center of Southern society. His constituents knew that slavery inextricably tied to white liberty.