Jefferson Davis (1808-1889) was the first and only president of the Confederate States of America. After a distinguished career in national politics as Secretary of War under Franklin Pierce, Davis served as a congressman and then as a Mississippi senator. After the South's defeat in the Civil War, he was stripped of his citizenship and took refuge in Europe, returning to the United States after a treason case against him was dropped. He died in New Orleans in 1889, and Congress posthumously reinstated his American citizenship in 1978.
As senator, Davis initially argued against secession, but when his home state of Mississippi seceded from the Union in January 1861, he acquiesced and resigned from the Senate. He was elected president of the newly formed Confederate States of America on 9 February 1861 and served in that post throughout the Civil War.