Jefferson Davis served in congress and as Secretary of War for four years. He was the leading southern spokesman for the expansion of slavery and sovereignty of the states. In January 1861, Senator Jefferson Davis resigned his Senate seat after making a speech advocating the right of the states to secede from the Union. On February 18, 1861, he was inaugurated as President of the Confederacy. By this time, six states had already left the Union; South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia and Louisiana. Texas soon followed.
The actions of Jefferson Davis, the Inauguration of President Lincoln, and the shots fired at Fort Sumter marked the beginning of the Civil War, April 12, 1861.
The Civil War did not end until April 9, 1865. More than 620,000 American lives were lost.