2007 Volume 11, Issue 2, p45-8
The only Confederate president, Jefferson Davis, led a long and eventful life. He was a Mississippi planter, a husband, a father, West Point graduate, war hero, congressman, senator, secretary of war, and finally President of the Confederate States of America. In many ways he was a study of contrast with his northern counterpart Abraham Lincoln. Davis was personally courageous and a rich, educated, southern aristocrat who did not deeply understand the political process or have the refined personal skills necessary to work well with others. Prior to his Presidency he served with distinction in two wars, but as a result of his confederate activity and pro-slavery philosophy he is one of the least discussed famous Americans. Davis's health was a constant problem and he suffered an almost fatal attack of 'malaria' in 1836. In the winter of 1857-1858, he again was seriously ill and by the end of February 1858, a chronic, relapsing, ocular inflammatory condition began. Using historical evidence from multiple sources, this paper will propose a diagnosis of the Confederate President's ocular condition and consider how this could have influenced his military and political decisions.
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