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HIS LETTERS, PAPERS AND SPEECHES
COLLECTED AND EDITED BY
DUNBAR ROWLAND, LL.D.
OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, SECRETARY
MISSISSIPPI HISTORICAL SOCIETY
PRINTED FOR THE
M18SISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF ARCHIVES AND HISTORY
D. Rowland 9-12-23
The belief that no great revolution which occurs in human affairs can be interpreted until the aims and purposes of its leaders are fully understood by those who write history has led to this undertaking, which presents the sources of information concerning a stupendous crisis in the history of the American people.
Up to the present time, with but few exceptions the histories of the War for Southern Independence consist of bitter attack and heated defense, with but little reference in many instances to the great and fundamental principles involved and the motives which actuated its participants. Such unscientific methods, which have been regrettably followed by too many historians, have produced a vast amount of historical literature which cannot survive and must be rewritten. This is the inevitable fate sooner or later of error when in conflict with truth.
Henry Ford was not all wrong when he said that history is "bunk”; much of it is, and particularly that which has been employed by a certain school of historians when writing of Jefferson Davis, the central figure of the revolution for independence by the people of the Southern States of the American Union.
It is unfortunate that the publication of historical source material concerning the government of the Confederate States has in the past been largely of a military nature. Such material should be widely published, but not to the neglect of equally if not more important sources dealing with causes and motives.
The definitive history of the formation of the Confederate States of America and of their struggle for independence as a separate nationality is yet to be written. This is to a large extent due to the lack of published sources of information. The publication of the letters, papers and speeches of Jefferson Davis supplies an extensive and comprehensive collection of historical material which throws new light on that titanic struggle over fundamental principles of government.
Believing that the service to American history would prove valuable and acceptable, the collection of the letters, papers and speeches of the President of the Southern Confederacy for pub