Portrayed by Doug Mishler
Jefferson Davis (1808-1889) is an icon of the Confederacy--a veteran, senator and finally President of the Confederate States of America. He came from a military family--his father and uncles fought in the Revolutionary War and his older brothers in the War of 1812. After graduating from West Point in 1828, Davis fought in the Mexican-American War, was the United States Secretary of War under President Franklin Pierce and served several terms as a US Senator representing Mississippi.
Although conflicted about Southern secession, he was inaugurated President of the Confederate States of America in February 1861. Considered a traitor by some, he thought of himself first and foremost as a patriot and defender of the Constitution. In 1865 Davis was captured and charged with treason, and after two years' imprisonment, he was released on bail posted by prominent citizens of both the North and South. He died in New Orleans at age 81 after writing his memoir The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government.
Doug Mishler is an independent scholar who has taught at the University of Nevada and Western Washington University. He is the author of a history of the Ringling Brothers Circus and has consulted on several public television and Chautauqua programs.
Since 1995, Mishler has appeared at the Maryland Chautauqua as P. T. Barnum, Theodore Roosevelt, William Lloyd Garrison, Henry Ford, Upton Sinclair and George Wallace. He also portrays Ernie Pyle, Billy Sunday, William Clark, Andrew Carnegie, Andrew Jackson, Edward R. Murrow and Thomas Hart Benton.
Mishler has a Ph.D. in American cultural history from the University of Nevada, Reno.