Jefferson Davis Elected President of the Confederate
States of America
November 6, 1861
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
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.