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Jefferson Davis is one of the most complex and controversial figures in American political history (and the man whom Oscar Wilde wanted to meet more than anyone when he made his tour of the United States). Elected president of the Confederacy and later accused of participating in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, he is a source of ongoing dissension between northerners and southerners. This volume, the first of its kind, is a selected collection of his writings culled in large part from the authoritative Papers of Jefferson Davis, a multivolume edition of his letters and speeches published by the Louisiana State University Press, and includes thirteen documents from manuscript collections and one privately held document that have never before appeared in a modern scholarly edition. From letters as a college student to his sister, to major speeches on the Constitution, slavery, and sectional issues, to his farewell to the U.S. Senate, to his inaugural address as Confederate president, to letters from prison to his wife, these selected pieces present the many faces of the enigmatic Jefferson Davis.As William J. Cooper, Jr., writes in his Introduction, "Davis's notability does not come solely from his crucial role in the Civil War. Born on the Kentucky frontier in the first decade of the nineteenth century, he witnessed and participated in the epochal transformation of the United States from a fledgling country to a strong nation spanning the continent. In his earliest years his father moved farther south and west to Mississippi. As a young army officer just out of West Point, he served on the northwestern and southwestern frontiers in an army whose chief mission was to protect settlers surging westward. Then, in 1846 and 1847, as colonel of the First Mississippi Regiment, he fought in the Mexican War, which resulted in 1848 in the Mexican Cession, a massive addition to the United States of some 500,000 square miles, including California and the modern Southwest. As secretary of war and U.S. senator in the 1850s, he advocated government support for the building of a transcontinental railroad that he believed essential to bind the nation from ocean to ocean."From the Hardcover edition.
Like no other event in our history, the Civil War divided the nation, redrew our notions of freedom and citizenship, and provided the backdrop for some of the most enduring works in the American literary canon. This Modern Library eBook bundle collects five titles that illuminate that transformative conflict: Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant, the classic novels Uncle Tom's Cabin and The Red Badge of Courage, The Essential Writings of Jefferson Davis, and The Life and Writings of Abraham Lincoln. PERSONAL MEMOIRS OF ULYSSES S. GRANT The memoirs of the legendary Union general chart the fortunes that shaped his life and character--from his frontier boyhood to his heroics in battle to the grinding poverty from which the Civil War "rescued" him. Among autobiographies of great military figures, Grant's is considered one of the finest. UNCLE TOM'S CABIN Abraham Lincoln called Uncle Tom's Cabin "the book that made this great war." Langston Hughes called it "a moral battle cry." Harriet Beecher Stowe's classic novel offers a shockingly realistic depiction of slavery and a portrait of human dignity in the most inhumane circumstances. THE RED BADGE OF COURAGE One of the greatest works of American literature, The Red Badge of Courage gazes fearlessly into the bright hell of war through the eyes of one young soldier, the reluctant Henry Fleming. Stephen Crane's novel imagines the Civil War's terror and loss with an unblinking vision so modern and revolutionary that critics hailed it as a work of literary genius. JEFFERSON DAVIS: THE ESSENTIAL WRITINGS The Confederate president is one of the most complex and controversial figures in American political history. Editor William J. Cooper combs through the authoritative Papers of Jefferson Davis for this selection of letters, major speeches, and public and private writings. Collectively, they present a multifaceted portrait of a man who continues to fascinate scholars and Civil War buffs alike. THE LIFE AND WRITINGS OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN The greatest of all American presidents left us a vast legacy of writings, some of which are among the most famous in our history. From the plainspoken eloquence of the Gettysburg Address to the soaring rhetoric of his Second Inaugural, this marvelous volume serves as a guide to Lincoln's life through his speeches, letters, and public remarks.
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