Compare Lincoln to the Confederate president, Jefferson Davis.


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In some ways, Jefferson Davis was more qualified to lead an nation through a war, and to make strategic decisions, than Abraham Lincoln. He was a West Point graduate, a Mexican War veteran, and a former US Secretary of War, and he hoped to get a Confederate military commission when the new nation was formed. Lincoln, on the other hand, had almost no military experience, having only served in local militia during the Blackhawk War. Davis struck people as cold and arrogant, but with a great deal of dignity. Lincoln, on the other hand, often struck people as awkward and a bit melancholy, especially during the war. Both men emerged from humble origins (though Lincoln's were far more humble than those of Davis) to become prominent politicians. Both men, coincidentally, were born in Kentucky, and both men moved to other states as they grew older.

Both men struggled with internal opposition, and both men had to make similar decisions that angered their people, including suspending the writ of habeas corpus and ordering a draft. Both men struggled to find good generals, Davis in the west and Lincoln in the east. Davis also tended to play favorites and remember enemies,which resulted in him overlooking some talented officers such as P.G.T. Beauregard.

Davis tended to be stubborn on points of principle, Lincoln more pragmatic. As an orator, Lincoln is almost unparalleled for his ability to articulate sweeping abstractions, whereas Davis tended to be stiff and formal. In short, it seems that Lincoln proved to be the superior political leader, though Davis was in a far less tenable situation. 

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