In 2008, retired radio-TV journalist Jeff A. Davis wrote ~ on the 199th birthday celebration of President Jefferson Davis, I pause to think what it will be in the public recognition of this monumental American during the coming year and after.
President Jefferson DavisWhat if the New England Democrats in 1860 had convinced Jefferson Davis to be a candidate for president, as they tried to do, unsuccessfully? What if the Democrats in 1860 had the sense to know they couldn't split their voting power in the nation three ways and hope to win? What if in some wise meeting of the minds, John Breckinridge had seen the likelihood of the Whigs, who had become Republicans, might prevail in a U. S. election with only a fraction of the vote because of fragmented opposition? What if Stephen Douglas acknowledged the same real scenario? What if John Bell acknowledged the same scenario? What if all three agreed they couldn't run three separate opposition campaigns and hope to win? What if they all agreed to get behind the overwhelming consensus choice, Jefferson Davis, who wouldn't run because he was committed to John Breckinridge? What if all the Democrats came together behind the one candidate they could all agree on, a devoted Southerner, who also was a unionist?"I love the Union and the Constitution, but I would rather leave the Union with the Constitution than remain in the Union without it". - Jefferson Davis Now, you may be saying this is all foolish, it didn't happen. It is meaningless. You've got a good point.
Let me show you how we lost our way and then consider the horrendous effect it has had on our country and its future.
Abraham Lincoln was the nominee of the then recently formed Republican Party. He didn't win the nomination easily. As a matter of fact, he trailed in votes until the third ballot. Some historians have claimed he would have never won the nomination without the packing of the convention with Marxist immigrants of the recent German Revolution.
Now we come to what is meaningful, and we no longer rely on supposition.
Lincoln won the election by less than ten electoral votes. [ Correction: It was 57 electoral votes per the National Archives.]
Anyone who believes he was the favorite of the North and West needs to examine states like California, Ohio, Oregon, New Jersey and Wisconsin which he failed to carry a majority. He carried a Michigan majority by around 2,000 votes.
Correction: See Results by State. ]
Lincoln won the election on less than 40% of the popular vote.
What if, just what if, Jefferson Davis had been the consensus Democrat candidate? No one can say, but most students of electoral politics in America conclude that Lincoln may not have carried states in the East that openly favored Davis. Speculation though it is, the likelihood of Jefferson Davis as a consolidated Democrat candidate points to far more than the few electoral votes needed to defeat Lincoln.
Back to reality, It is clear that the majority of the voters, 60%, did not favor Lincoln for president.
Now, consider this:
If Jefferson Davis were elected in 1860, would there have been a War Between the States?
If Mr. Davis were elected would we have seen the vibrant expanse of opportunity in the USA? Look at my previous commentary about his accomplishments at Secretary of War to President Franklin Pierce, of New Hampshire, who, by the way felt Jefferson Davis should be president in 1861 but the situation was delicate because of the candidacy of Vice President, John Breckinridge.
If Mr. Davis were elected do you suppose we would have seen the deterioration of the Constitution we have witnessed? In his essay entitled, The Imaginary Abe, Joseph Sobran writes,
How could Lincoln be so wrong? Well, he was a product of a later generation of rising nationalism, typified by Daniel Webster and Henry Clay, that was out of touch with the Founders and the Framers of the Constitution. As a matter of fact, the longer I study Lincoln, the more I am convinced that he was simply ignorant of the greatest body of American political thought; I seriously doubt that he ever read even The Federalist Papers. If he did, he never assimilated their thinking about the problems of "confederation," "consolidation," "usurpation," and the like. Jefferson Davis was steeped in these ideas and completely mastered them, as his memoirs show. Lincoln, however, couldn?t have carried on an intelligent conversation with Madison, Hamilton, or his hero Jefferson (whose Kentucky Resolutions he also seems ignorant of).
Finally, if Jefferson Davis had been our president in 1861, do you think the politicians of today might have a little more respect for both his name and great visions he had for the country he loved and gave large part of his life in serving?
Well, he wasn't US president in 1861 but why should that change the appropriate respect for what Davis did for his country and what he stood for?
I have tried to follow his advice though at times my will gets tested by those who have little understanding of the man or his philosophy and guidance to us of this and other generations. Then there are those who intentionally distort history to defame his character.
In this way I have tried to be a patriotic American, serving my country in many ways. For all its faults, and they increase every day, it is still our last and best hope on the face of this earth. Yes, I believe if the era beginning 1861 had changed, our lives and our country today would be what our Founders envisioned. We should never stop working to restore that grand experiment.
We are today at the edge of a precipice where our Republic's sovereignty is at stake. We need loyal unhypenated Americans more than ever. We are perilously close to being rolled into a world government with philosophies totally alien to anything resembling our Founders ideals.
The time may be coming, as Mr. Davis predicted, that there will be a new dawning of liberty though it may take a new and different form.
Happy birthday, Mr. President. We really do wonder how it would have been if you could have met Mr. Lincoln at the ballot box rather than the terrible ordeal on hundreds of battlefields our Republic suffered then, and still suffers today as the direct result of one of the most significant blunders in American history.