John Jones Pettus, Mississippi Fire-Eater: His Life and Times, 1813-1867 By Robert W. Dubay The life of John Jones Pettus, governor of Mississippi from 1859 to 1863 and champion of the secessionist movement, provides a parallel to the slowly changing pattern of southern politics from 1840 to the end of the Civil War. A small slave-holding planter and lawyer, Pettus served respectively in the Mississippi House of Representatives and Senate. Throughout his legislative career his political attitudes evolved from that of sectionalist to southern nationalist and finally to secessionist. He may be described as a new radical, having been too young for participation in either the earlier Missouri crisis or the nullification controversy. In late 1859 Pettus was elected governor of Mississippi. As a leader of the fire-eater wing of the Democratic Party, he campaigned as a champion of the secessionist movement. He was elected with a virtual mandate, 75% of the vote, an indication that Mississippians had become responsive to the fire-eater point of view. An examination of Pettus's activities while governor sheds additional light on the political, social, and economic fabric of both Mississippi and the South during the tense era immediately preceding the Civil War. After the opening of hostilities in 1861, John Pettus's career took on added significance and dimension. "Many of his activities," states Dubay, "demonstrate that he did not fit the stereotype commonly attached to southern governors during this crucial period of history." His relationship to the Confederate government and to his own constituents serves to clarify the picture of Mississippi's war effort and its ultimate failure. Robert W. Dubay was academic dean and professor of history at Bainbridge Junior College in Bainbridge, Georgia.
Publisher: University Press of Mississippi
Number of pages: 234
Weight: 375 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 14 mm