Lincoln’s Election, Southern Secession: 1860 to April 1861

Lincoln’s Journey, Davis’ Speech

Where did Jefferson Davis stop along the way to Montgomery?

Davis had only known he had been elected for a few days; it was not possible to have a special train for him. The president-elect of the Confederacy, therefore, traveled much like any other passenger. But as he came closer to Alabama, he was met at a variety of train stops, and the level of oratory rose. Davis was a good, though not a great, speaker, and he rose to the occasion, promising that the new Confederacy meant peace, but that if resisted, she would show her opponents “Southern steel.”

On the evening that he arrived in Montgomery, Davis was escorted to the Exchange Hotel by the flamboyant fire-eater William Yancey (1814–1863), who introduced him with the thrilling words: “The man and the hour have met.” Davis gave a much more subdued speech, alluding to the fact that he had given no fewer than twenty-five during the last week. When he went to bed that evening, Davis knew that he was the leader, and that the hopes of the Confederacy rested upon him.

President Jefferson Davis, the one and only leader of the Confederate States of America.


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