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At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 65,000 items cover five hundred years of American history, from Columbus’s 1493 letter describing the New World to soldiers’ letters from World War II and Vietnam. Explore primary sources, visit exhibitions in person or online, or bring your class on a field trip.

Davis, Jefferson to Frank H. Alfriend

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC05344.01 Author/Creator: Davis, Jefferson Place Written: Montreal, Canada Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 17 August 1867 Pagination: 1

Summary of Content: Noted at top "Strictly Confidential." Discusses events of 1850, 1857-8-9 and 1860-61. He argues that repeal of the Missouri Compromise logically allowed nullification of other things as well. Blames abolitionism. Argues that the South had to withdraw rather than work against Lincoln because eventually it would be outnumbered whatever it did. includes justification for "The exercise of the sovereign right of state revocation of its Grants and withdrawl from the union." Alfriend was author of The Life of Jefferson Davis. Marked "Strictly Confidential" at the top. Written a few months after Davis' release from prison. Discusses his role in the Senate during the various attempts to compromise on the slavery issue in 1850 and the Crittenden Compromise of 1860. Davis claims to have been a Unionist and places the blame for secession on the Northern politicians who would not compromise. He also explains why Southern Congressmen did not remain in the Senate, in order to control the Lincoln administration, after their respective states seceded.


Historical Era: Civil War and Reconstruction, 1861-1877

Keywords/Subjects: Civil War, Confederate States of America, Confederate General or Leader, Military History, Reconstruction, Secession, Missouri Compromise, Nullification, Abolition, African American History, Slavery, States' Rights, President, Government and Civics

Sub Era: Reconstruction