Jeff Davis shows President of USA [closed]

+11 votes

Hi All,

I was perusing the profile of Jeff Davis, former President of the CSA.

The profile has the {{US President}} template. This template, when computed and replaced, shows that "Jefferson Davis was President of the United States".

This is factually untrue. The fact that the template says that on this profile could be considered.... let's say, in poor taste. I strongly suggest that this template be removed. 

Normally, I would just do it myself, but the profile is Project Protected, and it's probably best for others to weigh in on the matter.

WikiTree profile: Jefferson Davis
closed with the note: The initial issue discussed has been solved and further actions have their own questions.
in Policy and Style by Eric Weddington G2G6 Pilot (181k points)
closed by Robin Lee
I agree.
We should have a "bad_optics" tag that all Wikitree leaders follow vigorously.
It's been fixed.
Thanks, Nan!
One of the best profiles I’ve seen well done!

6 Answers

+11 votes
The US Presidents Project should not be managing this profile. This profile does not appear to meet the current requirements for PPP (placed in 2012), but if I'm missing the reason for it, then perhaps the US Civil War Project would be a better fit for management.

To be frank, I can see where there are many who may take offense at featuring Jefferson Davis in the Connection Finder.
by Deb Durham G2G Astronaut (1m points)
I'm one of the offended ones.  When I moved to a rural area of Virginia, I discovered that US 1 had been given the name of "Jefferson Davis Highway" as it passed through the nearby town of Fredericksburg.  It hit me very hard that I was now in the South, where they name roads to honor a traitor who tried to overthrow the government of the United States.
I want to apologize to the US Presidents Project. I do see now that they manage this profile and it was not an error by a profile manager adding the project account and project box, which happens often and was my first thought. I certainly should have checked prior to posting and will make more effort in the future to do just that before sticking my foot in it. Other than perhaps the US Civil War Project, I am not certain it falls neatly into any project.
This profile does qualify for PPP in line with our most recent guidelines. It fits perfectly under Military and War Project because he was a soldier in the Mexican American War.
OK everyone, the US Presidents project is transferring the profile to the Military and War project, I will do the same with the Presidents of the Continental Congress...with this approach, they more appropriately they should be a part of the 1776 project.

"One man's terrorist is another's freedom fighter."

I remember some years back, when I was in harms way doing some patriotic duty, I had a liasion officer from the adjoining British unit.  We invited him and his entire company over to dine with us on July 4th because the contract cooks usually go over the top on the big holidays.  They came and dined, and dined well, sans alcohol but some red sparkling grape juice and near-beer and we pretended.

That evening I received, in jest, an E-card from said British liaision.  It was a holiday card to remember the occasion.  It read:

"Happy traitors day, you ungrateful colonists."

History is always written by the victor.

I think the best solution, and it seems like a natural fit, is for Civil War to take Davis and 1776 to take Congressional Presidents.

edit: typo

So, Gaile, I’m guessing you’d have this same reaction if you were required to relocate to Jeff Davis County, Georgia?
Please don't regale us with pithy, generic quotes about terrorism vs. freedom. Those who champion the Southern cause do so in the name of slavery, which will always be morally reprehensible.
I stand with Gaile on the matter. It was why I brought the topic up. I share her reaction to this topic, and yes, it's repugnant that those who defend slavery should be honored with their name plastered on locations.
Eric, it pains me to disillusion you, but when I moved from NY to Virginia, I found that everything I learned in school about the Civil War was wrong.  It's not about slavery - it's about state's rights!!!!!   It may interest you that my response was that I understand fully - it's about the state's rights to allow slavery.  I also learned about the outcome of the Civil War at that time.  I'm not sure if the South won or if it's still going on, but the only thing I'm sure of is that the North didn't win.

Virginia may have been the South, but where I live now is the deep South, yet there are a couple of strange things about place names that leave me scratching my head - I live in the town of Grant, Alabama (named for THAT Grant) which happens to be in Marshall County (named for THAT Marshall) … I can't imagine how they ever let that happen!!!!

Excuse me if my patriots vs. terrorists comment was taken as an endorsement of slavery, not my intention.  At all.  My comments about patriotism and terrorism were only a contrast between those who revolted in 1775 and those in 1861.  To call the Confederates "traitors" is indeed accurate, just as it is to call George Washington a traitor to the crown.

While I fully recognize the disdain we all feel for slavery, much of the modern dialogue is politically driven.  You will stretch hard to find an article criticizing the Czar of Russia or the Pharoh of Egypt for being a slave owner.  To honestly appreciate history we have to look at the past events through our own prism, with our modern day values and morals, and we have to step out of ourselves and look at the past events using the morals and values of those times.  Only in this way can we have a clear understanding of what occurred.  

We whould not expect that everyone today should have a similar view of history based on today's (temporary) values and morals.  This may satisfy our disdain for the past reprehensible practices but it does little to help us understand the totality of the historical events.

This will always be a challenge for historians and also for WikiTree: how to tell the history of past unpleasant events and still remain impartial.  In this particular case it seems that moving Jefferson Davis to the Civil War Project satisfies (at least temporarily) that aim.

SJ, thank you for having written that so well.

You are right, SJ, Jefferson Davis profile belongs with the Civil War Project, which is more specific and appropriate than just Military and War. And thanks, SJ, for your historical perspective of our modern day thinking about historical events that we do view through our own experiences. And unlike Gaile I was a southerner teaching outside Chicago for a career, a real eye opener! Not as you would think. For a great article on what was the major cause of the Civil War,  read "Myths & Understandings: What Caused the Civil War," by John Coski, Historian, The American Civil War Museum,

My Gr-Grandfather (Cole-20) is buried at the home of Jeff Davis!!!
I posted a photo of his headstone on my ancestor's page.

I agree with you SJ.  I am in no position to judge anyone from the past.  I wasn't there.  My ancestors good and bad deeds neither improve nor degrade my personhood. I am going through the application process to join the Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War.  I have also considered the United Daughters of the Confederacy but the "optics" of it bother me and I wonder if I would be seen as a "racist" or supporting "slavery" by joining them.  My perceptions could be completely wrong but I shouldn't have to feel this way.  I am proud of my ancestors on both sides of the Civil War not for what they believed because I will never know what they believed.  I am proud of their bravery and the sacrifice they made for the people and the homes that they loved.
+6 votes
The US Presidents project, when established, through the mission of the project, agreed to manage Jefferson Davis as an adjunct to the project.   The project also manages the Presidents of the Continental Congress.   The US Presidents project also manages US Vice Presidents, the families of Presidents and Vice Presidents.   If people feel strongly that this is incorrect, then please propose who should manage all the profiles that are not specifically US Presidents.

I do understand that the Project Box is wrong, we are working on that.....

We can discuss whether it meets the requirements of PPP. but it was put on due to some false lineages.
by Robin Lee G2G6 Pilot (544k points)
edited by Robin Lee
Robin, I don't care who manages Jefferson Davis' profile or whether it needs PPP, nor do I care if he's a connection finder anchor, nor do I care what other profiles than United States Presidents are managed by the project.

What causes me to have a (literally) visceral reaction of disgust is a template appearing to proclaim that the likes of him was a United States President.
It seems reasonable that the US Presidents Project manages profiles of US Presidents (of course) and even Vice Presidents.

But I think the suggestion by Deb in another answer that perhaps it would be better if this profile were managed by the Civil War Project is more befitting.
+7 votes

Per the request, the project has been removed from this profile.    Can I ask that people use these questions to weigh in on the scope of the US Presidents Project?

I would rather handle these questions of scope within the questions already asked a year ago.

by Robin Lee G2G6 Pilot (544k points)
Thanks for the reminder, Robin!!
The Presidents of the Continental Congress have now been moved to the 1776 project and the project box now points to the 1776 project.

We still have the questions listed above, please weigh in.

1) Should the family of US Presidents/Vice Presidents be managed by the project, or just the profiles of the Presidents themselves?

2) Should the ancestry of US Presidents be managed by the project?
+1 vote
It seems clear to me that this particular profile is nearly as devisive to WT as our current political situation. In some respects, the Civil War persists to this day. My family and I were in Georgia for vacay a number of years ago. We saw Stone Mountain, newly built, ante-bellum plantations, all things gone with the wind. Then we saw slave quarters, heard of the treatment and wept. We read about Andrew Jackson's treatment of his slaves and wept...his Trail of Tears and wept. Jefferson Davis and, dare I say, even Robert E Lee were traitors. States rights during this time necessarily included the state's right to have slaves. Slavery is what boosted their economy.

Jefferson Davis should not have been listed as a US president. He was a traitor. Deb made her culpas and removd Davis from US presidents. He does belong bin Civil War, as does Robert E. Lee and other Confederates. Robin works diligently on the US President's Project.  agree with Gaile and the others who abhor slavery. I still perceive elements of it's outcome currently not only in the south, but even the north in terms of activities like voter suppression and inequality in education, jobs, etc. These are ugly truths our country must face, as do other countries in their own ways.  Andrew Jackson was a duly elected US president and a slaveholder. I sometimes wonder if we've become more or less enlightened since the 1800s and before. This is where I credit SJ's comments regarding victors and how history is written. We should be learning from history sometimes we do and very obviously sometimes we don't.

I watched a live stream from the RootsTech conference in London recently. One speaker, Dan snow, shared his personal genealogy of a great-grandfather who was not at a finest moment during WWI. It was compelling and it was heartbreaking. Dan was quite open about his great-grandfather's failures and the maybe half a million soldiers who died because his great-grandfather was writing  as thento how well prepared the troops were not really cognizant of what his troops would be confronting. Afterwards, he blamed his troops, who fought and died so valiantly for the loss at the Somme. Dan's point was that as we do genealogy we have to admit to the negative as well as the positive when we write our family history. For those of us in the WT family, this is one of these times. We must look back and write with honesty, integrity and frankness. After all, to paraphrase Dan Snow, what will be written about us 200 years from now?
by Carol Baldwin G2G6 Pilot (116k points)
reshown by Carol Baldwin
+6 votes
President Carter said:

''Our Nation needs to clear away the guilts and enmities and recriminations of the past, to finally set at rest the divisions that threatened to destroy our Nation and to discredit the principles on which it was founded. Our people need to turn their attention to the important tasks that still lie before us in establishing those principles for all people.''
by Jo Gill G2G6 Mach 7 (77k points)
Wonderful quote....thank you, Jo.
Jo, Thank You for sharing the quote from President Carter.  I agree whole heartly with statement.  But not his politics.  We share my favorite great, great whatever grand father.
+4 votes
Oh for Pete's sake what other project whould you put Jeff Davis in.  

It absolutely amazes me that people are offended that he is put in with the US Presidents.  Jeff Davis is a part of US history.

I am offended that people on this thread are calling him a traitor.  Every single last one of The Founding Fathers of The United States of America was a " traitor".

This argument is so far removed from what a " genealogical site is it is ridiculous.  

History is history.  Many of my ancestors own slaves.  Many emancipated them.  Many of my ancestors who were white married black slaves.  Who is anyone to be offended by anyone else's ancestors.  It is what it is.  Is this a genealogical site or not?  Are facts facts or not.  Really what ever happened to the site that listed sourced lineage?  The site that was about accuracy?  I care about my family history.  I care about my family lines.  I don't use this site to have people get uppity and tell everyone how " offended" they are about MY FAMILY.  Get over yourselves. This is not the place to place self righteous judgement on anyone.  It is beyond OFFENSIVE.

Projects, challenges, suggestions,  ect.  What do these have to do with genealogy?
by Trudy Roach G2G6 Pilot (174k points)
You are SPOT-ON Trudy!!  What you write is SO TRUE!! That is why I don't read G2G very often.  I'm not a Mach 1,2, or 3, an Astronaut, or Pilot, I'm still riding my "bicycle," I do love my ancestors like you and many others,  and want to document them well on the BEST GENEALOGY SITE EVER...we as members should want to keep our site this way and our comments's about RESPECT, which has been greatly diminished in society today. Let's stay above the norm!
As myself teh descendant of a Confederate soldier and slaveholder (I call him that because I consider slaveowner to be an obscenity), I would object strongly to any suggestion that Jeff Davis was a President of the United States. He was a President, elected by the traitorous slave States, IN the United States, which continued to include the traitorous states whether they wanted it or not; but not and never OF the United States. Anybody who thinks otherwise is perfectly entitled to block me, as I would block them.
Ross, so you would block someone who disagrees with you?   The " traitorous slave states".  Is that a broad stroke to paint states as traitors?  North and South had people who kept slaves.  North and South had abolitionists.  

If we start nit picking about who should and should and should not be considered offensive on Wikitree let's see.  My MacDonalds were murdered at Glencoe.  My Roaches were slaughtered by Shawnee. My Hunnicutts, more than one have been murdered by Blacks.  Do I start to find the Clan that murdered men, woman and children in their sleep offensive?  Do I find the Shawnee who murdered the men of my ancestors and enslaved their women offensive after all these years and carry that offense down to the Shawnee desendants that now happen to be my cousins on wikitre? Do I find the despot Kings I descend from offense?  They enslaved and murdered my ancestors on both sides.

The fact that people in the past " owed slaves" is over and done. This isn't a political battleground.  Nor is G2G and place for members to intimidate another member into changing the way something was done.

The fact that you concider human beings , " slave holders" an " obscenity " has no place on wikitree. Your judgement of people long gone has no place here either.
Thank You Juliet.


"If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time save slavery, I do not agree with them.  If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time destroy slavery, I do not agree with them.  My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery.  If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I would also do that."

President Abraham Lincoln in a letter to Horace Greely dated August 22, 1862.

Hmm.  Time to take down his statue.

President Abraham Lincoln in the Civil War freed all the slaves AND he saved the Union, and it cost him his life. And you want to take down his statue???!!!!  GOD Bless Abraham Lincoln!!!
Steve Cole, excellent quote.

The first of Steve's quote is missing, as stated by Lincoln his paramount objective was to save the Union. Like all of us, Lincoln's thinking evolved over time, experiences bring forth wisdom.  But in freeing the slaves Lincoln was steadfast in support of the Emancipation Proclamation, "I repeat the declaration I made a year ago, that while I remain in my present position I shall not attempt to retract or modify the emancipation proclamation, nor shall I return to slavery any person who is free by the terms of that proclamation, or by any of the Acts of Congress. If any people should, by whatever mode or means make it an Executive duty to re-enslave such persons, another, and not I, must be their instrument to perform it." (Lincoln's Fourth Annual Message to Congress, December 6, 1864.)  I do not have a former slave in my ancestry, but I do have a Free African American who along with his brother fought alongside Gen. George Washington during the terrible struggle of 1776, and suffered through the Winter of Valley Forge before ending his two year tour of duty. His brother on the battlefield saved the life of the future president James Monroe. I am more proud of this black heritage than all of my ancestors. As Trudy said, history is history, be proud of what is your family, and remember the above words of President Carter. Thank you, Trudy, for sharing your family history with us. President Abraham Lincoln's quotes on slavery,

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