The First White House of the Confederacy in Montgomery is important for visitors and students to visit because it is a visual reminder and teaching tool of the American Civil War which split our country into two nations for four bloody years and cost 620,000 lives.
The crisis was long in the making. The slave-holding South saw political and economic power increasingly slipping away to the ever-growing industrial North and “free-soil” farmers of the West. The immediate cause was whether slavery could expand westward, although disputes about unfair tariffs and trade practices played a role.
The election in November 1860 of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States sparked the quick secession of seven Deep South States, where he was viewed as a threat to what they called “the peculiar institution”. (Later four Upper South States would leave the Union).
Their representatives met in Montgomery Alabama to form the Confederate States of America and on February 4, 1861 elected Mississippi’s distinguished U.S. Senator Jefferson Davis as Provisional President.
On February 18 he was inaugurated on The Alabama State Capitol portico. An inset brass star marks the event as does a nearby stature of Davis. He had a long distinguished career as a Soldier, Planter, Congressman, Senator and Secretary of War under Franklin Pearce.