Essay on Jefferson Davis: Man of the Year

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History is not so much a series of events as it is a series of influential people whose radical actions and ideas changed the world. While one can point to many people and call them influential, a good gauge for seeing which people had a large impact in society is Time Magazine’s Person of the Year issue. Past receivers of the title include Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Adolf Hitler, all of whom have inarguably had an immense effect on the world. But the title did not always exist, so people who lived before the 20th century are, of course, ineligible. It is possible to argue over which person in 1865, the end of the American Civil War, would have received the title, but there is a simple answer. Jefferson Davis is Time’s …show more content…
Jefferson Davis also influenced the loss of the South in the civil war by ineptly handling the military, with one of his mistakes being giving important positions to his friends. For example, Albert Sidney Johnston was the second highest-ranking Confederate general, but before that he had been an adjutant general, never having led an army before. Lucky for Johnston, however, he was good friends with Jefferson Davis, having attended West Point with him, so Davis promoted him to full general, a position in which he outranked much more experienced men like Robert E. Lee, P.G.T. Beauregard, and Joseph E. Johnston (Rafuse). Albert Sidney Johnston was later killed in the Battle of Shiloh, most likely by one of his own men, a fact which proves that he is inept in commanding an army (Sword 444). Davis’s cabinet was also not free from so-called “friend nepotism.” Judah P. Benjamin became friends with Jefferson Davis after a planned duel between the two, in which they both acknowledged that they respected each other. Davis, following his election as President, appointed him to three different cabinet positions: Attorney General, Secretary of War, and Secretary of State. As a lawyer who knew almost nothing about military strategy, he was more of a placeholder as Secretary of War, filling the position so Davis could control it behind the scenes (“Judah P. Benjamin Biography”). Jefferson kept taking up other people’s jobs (such as general-in-chief, see below), and it…