Talk:Jefferson Davis

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pagination in Cooper 2000 bio -- are there different page Numbers?[edit]

people seem to get different page numbers ... I have the paperback o "Jefferson Davis, American" and its page numbers are the same as the Amazon edition at and the same as google at In my copy p 248 is a detailed coverage of his slave holdings. But North Shoreman gives page 229 which is about an election campaign. There is another book called "Jefferson Davis and the Civil War Era" with a totally different text. Rjensen (talk) 19:51, 15 May 2014 (UTC)

I'm using the hardcover version. Page 248 in this edition falls in Chapter 9 "I ... Have a Field of Usefulness". On Amazon if you check the "Look Inside" feature you get different pagination in the paperback and the hardcover -- Chapter 9 in the paperback starts on page 257; in the hardcover the chapter begins on page 240. I checked footnote no. 15 which refers to page 65 in Cooper -- this is the first page of Chapter 4 in the hardback and is the correct page for this info; this chapter doesn't start until page 70 in the paperback. There definitely is a discrepancy between the two editions. Tom (North Shoreman) (talk) 21:22, 15 May 2014 (UTC)
OK thanks for the detective work. We need to fix it: One solution is to cite two editors 2000A (hardcover) and 2000B (paperback). Rjensen (talk) 21:32, 15 May 2014 (UTC)

Naming the baby Jefferson F. Davis[edit]

Historians agree the baby was named Jefferson F. Davis because the father Samuel greatly admired the sitting President of the United States, who was also the leader of the Republican Party. None of the sources mention anything about the Declaration of Independence, which was not widely associated with Jefferson in 1808. As for the middle name, Cooper says there was an initial F but the actual word was unknown. Some historians such as Strode suggest the middle name was "Finis" (the end) but there was no contemporary evidence for that; genealogists like and do not mention it; and it smacks of a joke told later in life when Jefferson Davis, the tenth born, explained he was the last of the children. Rjensen (talk) 00:29, 19 May 2014 (UTC)

And there is a debate on his year of birth. The William Davis bio says "While most twentieth-century biographers have accepted Davis's late-life emendation of his birth year from 1807 to 1808, it seems unwarranted and somewhat illogical. Throughout his life he repeatedly came back to the 1807 date, even as late as 1882." William C. Davis (1996). Jefferson Davis: The Man and His Hour. p. 709.  The Rice genealogy compiled by the experts at the JD [Papers is in doubt Rjensen (talk) 01:17, 19 May 2014 (UTC)
The Declaration is important historically, and the sentence you removed establishes historical context. That other sources don't mention the Declaration in connection with Samuel Davis doesn't mean that this sentence should be removed. Omnedon (talk) 02:27, 19 May 2014 (UTC)
Challenge: if this is to be featured we need to get the facts straight. Please quote what Strode says about it (I do not have his book handy). Rjensen (talk) 02:35, 19 May 2014 (UTC)
Are you claiming that Samuel Davis was not a young man in 1776? It is a factual statement and establishes context. He was born in 1756 and fought in the Revolutionary War. Omnedon (talk) 02:46, 19 May 2014 (UTC)
I'm asking for proof that Strode said it played a major role--all of the other bios said it was because TJ was president at the time and Samuel admired TJ. Peterson says the Declaration was not much talked about in the South by 1808 because of the slavery issue. Rjensen (talk) 03:00, 19 May 2014 (UTC)
The problem: yes everyone knew about the Declaration but in 1808 it was NOT widely known that Jefferson wrote it. That would come in the 1820s. So they idea that Samuel linked the Declaration to naming his baby needs some solid evidence. Does Strode have that evidence? No otrher biographer has found it. Rjensen (talk) 13:07, 19 May 2014 (UTC)
The article doesn't claim that there is a link between the Declaration and the baby's name. It simply makes a factual statement which provides historical context. Omnedon (talk) 18:12, 19 May 2014 (UTC)
It gets the context wrong because it suggests Samuel knew Jefferson wrote the Declaration and that was a factor in naming the baby (Samuel greatly admired TJ). there is zero evidence of a link so readers get are misled. Strode used 1776 as a literary device to establish Samuel's age, which is not relevant here. Misleading readers is a serious flaw at evaluation time. Rjensen (talk) 19:03, 19 May 2014 (UTC)
It is not misleading. It is a factual statement. And his age is relevant. It is a link with origin of the nation, not with JD's name. Omnedon (talk) 19:10, 19 May 2014 (UTC)
If the passage suggests that Jefferson F=Davis was a nation-founder like Thomas Jefferson in 1776, that is pro-Confederacy "Lost Cause" POV and has no place here. Rjensen (talk) 00:04, 20 May 2014 (UTC)
Given that the source indicates that Samuel named his son in honor of Thomas Jefferson, I don't see anything amiss about the passage in question. It doesn't say that Davis got his name because of the Declaration, or even because Jefferson was President; it simply notes that Jefferson authored the Declaration (when Samuel was young) and was President, which are useful contextual data for the reader to have given the statement that Samuel named his son in admiration of Jefferson. ╠╣uw [talk] 01:09, 20 May 2014 (UTC)
No, Rjensen, it's not suggesting that Jefferson Davis is somehow like Thomas Jefferson. You're reading things into it that are not there. Omnedon (talk) 01:11, 20 May 2014 (UTC)
There is nothing there, it's "synthesis" in Wiki terms and that is not allowed. Why was 1776 chosen? It was not an imnporttant year for JD or his father--there is no evidence whatever that his father had any special reaction to 1776, and it's quite unlikely he knew TJ's role. That leaves Lost Cause ideology: because JDavis admirers consider him a Jefferson-like founder of his nation, so 1861 is another 1776. We better take this out --many people (like me) consider it blatant POV and others will simply learn zero about Jefferson Davis. Now JD himself started this POV in his inaugural address as president in 1861. Cooper says JD was "Fusing the southern past to the southern present, he said the southern people had "merely asserted a right which the Declaration of Independence of 1776 had defined to be inalienable."" [paperback & google p 354] For evidence that the Lost Cause folks are using this POV connection today see R., Kennedy, James. Was Jefferson Davis Right?. Pelican Publishing. p. 259.  Rjensen (talk) 01:37, 20 May 2014 (UTC)
There is no synthesis going on here. A featured article needs to be interesting as well as informative. This did come from Strode, and I see nothing wrong with it; it is informative and establishes historical context. Where were you when all the work was being done on this article to bring it up to GA and then FA? Omnedon (talk) 02:04, 20 May 2014 (UTC)
it's loading the article with neo-Confederate code words --that's POV. Its the Lost Cause people who over and over again try to tie JDavis to 1776. It makes the article look and be slanted to pick up their rhetoric even unknowingly. Rjensen (talk) 02:22, 20 May 2014 (UTC)
Oh, for goodness' sake. There are no code words here, and Davis isn't being tied to 1776. You're becoming more offensive all the time. Please tone it down. Omnedon (talk) 02:25, 20 May 2014 (UTC)
Well let's start with Strode--who was notorious as a spokesman for the Lost Cause. Here's a leading scholarly journal on Strode's bio: "His [JD's] enemies are devils, and his friends, like Davis himself, have been canonized. Strode not only attempts to sanctify Davis but also the Confederate point of view, and this study should be relished by those vigorously sympathetic with the Lost Cause." [The Journal of American History Sep., 1965 in JSTOR Rjensen (talk) 02:32, 20 May 2014 (UTC)
Rjensen: Your fears of secret "neo-Confederate code words" seem increasingly divorced from anything that the article is actually saying. Personally I see nothing to suggest that the small passage in question is not factual and appropriate context on the matter of Davis's naming. ╠╣uw [talk] 09:52, 20 May 2014 (UTC)


When editing this article, please take care with formatting issues. Several recent edits have caused issues with this, especially in terms of references; one caused a warning template to be added to the top of the article. This has all been resolved now; but featured article reviews are very picky about such things as use of en-dashes in page ranges, consistent punctuation, et cetera. We don't want to run the risk of this article losing its status. Omnedon (talk) 13:11, 19 May 2014 (UTC)

Agreed – with the feature date nearing, greater than usual care needs to be taken not to introduce problems or instability into the article, and I do see that some recent edits have done that. I would definitely suggest that now is not the best time to embark on significant article editing unless there's some very compelling need to do so. ╠╣uw [talk] 13:47, 19 May 2014 (UTC)

Lead problem[edit]

The following sentence in the lead needs editing: "As operator of a large cotton plantation ... he ... was well known for his support of slavery in the Senate." But I'm not sure what it should be edited to say. It was clearly not intended to mean that he supported the provision of slaves to Senators to assist them with their duties as Senators, but I don't know enough about the subject to know whether it should really be saying "... he ... was well known in the Senate for his support of slavery", or whether it should read, "... he ... was well known for speaking in the Senate in support of slavery." Bahnfrend (talk) 08:12, 4 June 2014 (UTC)

Good eye. I tried a fix to read, An operator of a large cotton plantation in Mississippi with over 100 slaves, he was well known for his support of slavery in the Senate. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 09:34, 4 June 2014 (UTC)