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Group portrait of the petit jury impaneled for the Jefferson Davis treason trial

1867
Photograph
The Huntington

Anderson,D.H. Group Portrait of the Petit Jury Impaneled for the Jefferson Davis Treason Trial, 1867, Lee Photographic Gallery, The Huntington Library, Art Museum, Botanical Gardens, https://hdl.huntington.org/digital/iiif-info/p15150coll2/20630

Prior to the outbreak of the Civil War, Jefferson Davis served as secretary of war and was a senator from Mississippi. He was also the wealthy owner of a cotton plantation and more than 100 slaves. After Lee’s surrender and the fall of Richmond, Confederate President Jefferson Davis fled Virginia hoping to evade punishment, but Union troops captured him in Georgia in May of 1865. Imprisoned at Fort Monroe, Virginia, for two years, Davis waited to be put on trial for the crime of treason. He was released on bail in 1867 and eventually pardoned by President Andrew Johnson on December 25,1868, as part of a blanket amnesty for all high-ranking Confederate leaders. Davis was never officially punished by the United States for leading the Confederacy in its rebellion against the country that resulted in hundreds of thousands of dead Americans. Take a close look at this picture of the jury for Davis. What do you notice about the composition of this jury? With this background information as context, and the photograph as evidence, how does Jefferson Davis’s treatment help to answer the question, How did the country change because of the Civil War?

Prior to the outbreak of the Civil War, Jefferson Davis served as secretary of war and was a senator from Mississippi. He was also the wealthy owner of a cotton plantation and more than 100 slaves. After Lee’s surrender and the fall of Richmond, Confederate President Jefferson Davis fled Virginia hoping to evade punishment, but Union troops captured him in Georgia in May of 1865. Imprisoned at Fort Monroe, Virginia, for two years, Davis waited to be put on trial for the crime of treason. He was released on bail in 1867 and eventually pardoned by President Andrew Johnson on December 25,1868, as part of a blanket amnesty for all high-ranking Confederate leaders. Davis was never officially punished by the United States for leading the Confederacy in its rebellion against the country that resulted in hundreds of thousands of dead Americans. 


This is a photograph of a jury that was impaneled for the treason trial of Jefferson Davis. Take your students through the following questions in order to help them determine the significance of Davis’s treatment in shaping the post–Civil War character of the nation: What do you notice about the composition of this jury? What does this image reveal about the way the war attempted to reorganize race relations in the South? Is it significant that someone who owned more than 100 human beings and served as president of the Confederacy was going to have a trial with this jury? Would you consider this a jury of Davis’s peers? Would he have considered this to be a jury of his peers? Why? What’s more significant, the composition of the jury or the pardon that Davis received from President Johnson? Why? How would the men on this jury respond to the political cartoon from Harper’s Weekly (Source 8)? Why? How are the failed trial of Davis and the violence against African Americans in the South during Reconstruction related?