Jefferson Davis Day

Jefferson Davis was born on June 3, 1808. Jefferson Davis Day commemorates the birthday of Jefferson Davis, one of the most well-known Confederate leaders during the American Civil War in the 1860s. It is a state holiday in Alabama on the first Monday of June and a public holiday in Florida on June 3 each year. Other southern states, such as Kentucky, informally (not officially) observe the day around this time of the year.

Jefferson Davis was born in a log cabin in Kentucky, less than 100 miles from that of Abraham Lincoln (also a log cabin in Kentucky), and the two were born within one year of each other. Most people don’t know that Davis was a West Point graduate who fought in the Mexican War under Zachary Taylor.

Before the Civil War, Davis had been a congressman, senator, secretary of war and presidential advisor. In all of these capacities he exhibited a strong interest in opening up the west, which included securing funding for surveys of wagon roads and railroads. He also proposed the use of camels by the army in the Southwest.

At the beginning of the American Civil War when the southern states seceded from the Union and formed the Confederacy, the southern leaders chose Jefferson Davis as their president. In 1862 he was inaugurated at Richmond, Virginia, the only president of the short-lived Confederate States of America.

“The Civil War is the central event in our nation’s history, and Davis had a critical part to play in that,” said William J. Cooper, a professor of history at Louisiana State University and author of Jefferson Davis, American. “And not to study it makes no sense to me.” Just as long, he adds, as commemoration does not become celebration.

Read Jefferson Davis’ biography at


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