Jeff Davis Rules: General Beauregard and the Sanctity of Civilian Authority in the Confederacy

T. Michael Parrish

in Jefferson Davis's Generals

Published in print October 2000 | ISBN: 9780195139211
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199848799 | DOI:

Series: Gettysburg Civil War Institute Books

Jeff Davis Rules: General Beauregard and the Sanctity of Civilian Authority in the Confederacy

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This chapter looks at the adherence to the fundamental democratic principles of supremacy of civilian control over commanders of powerful military forces as conveyed in the antagonistic relationship of President Davis and General Beauregard. Both men understood the constitutionality of the principle of civilian control over military control. Beauregard served for two decades as a United States Army officer during a pivotal era that saw the emergence of a thoroughly professional body of West Point-trained officers. Davis himself, first as a US senator and then as secretary of war, had acted as one of the main architects of the West Point standard for military training. Despite Davis's political mishandlings of the confederacy and arbitrary use of military and executive powers, being commander in chief and confederate president, putting Beauregard in various positions, transferring him, removing him, denying him reassignment and assigning him elsewhere, the general always did Davisʼ bidding, if often grudgingly.

Keywords: democratic principles; President Davis; General Beauregard; constitutionality; United States Army; West Point; confederacy; military; civilian authority

Chapter.  5755 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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