Jefferson Davis Trial Papers

Institution: University of Chicago Library - Special Collections Research Center
1100 E. 57th Street
Chicago, IL 60637-1504
Phone: 773-702-8705
Fax: 773-702-3728
Date: 1865-1868
Extent: .25 Linear Feet
Finding Aid

Biographical/Historical Note:
Jefferson Davis was an American military and political figure who is best known for his role as the only President of the Confederate States of America. Davis led the seceded Southern states into the Civil War, refusing to renounce his pro-slavery worldview in the face of the more populous and more powerful Northern states. Prior to that role, Davis served in the Mississippi state legislature, the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate. His extensive political experience was rivaled only by his military prowess as a graduate of West Point, a colonel in the Mexican-American War, and the Secretary of War under President Franklin Pierce. He was captured in Irwinville, Georgia on May 10, 1865. The ambiguity of Davis' position and uncertainty as to his proper punishment is reflected by the year that lapsed between Davis' capture and his indictment for treason, the result of concerns over constitutionality of the U.S. Supreme Court. After two years of imprisonment, Davis was released on bail, posted by prominent citizens of both Northern and Southern states who were convinced of his unfair treatment. In December of 1868, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a motion to dismiss Davis' indictment for treason, but the prosecution dropped the case two months later.

Scope and Content Note:
This collection is comprised of fourteen documents related to the imprisonment and trial of the former President of the Confederate States of America, Jefferson Davis. The documents span the years 1866 to 1868. The documents are chronologically arranged.

Related Material: None