Difference Between Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis (With Table)

To begin comparing the two presidents, you must understand that the main difference between Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis is that one was the President of a nation. One of them was the President of a state. Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States, ended slavery and preserved the Union. Davis, the first and only President of the Confederate States of America, fought to destroy the Union and preserve slavery.

Abraham Lincoln vs Jefferson Davis

The main difference between Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis is that Abraham Lincoln had less political and military experience than Jefferson Davis. Conversely, Jefferson Davis had more significant political and military experience. Lincoln was seen as a successful president despite his lack of combat expertise. However, due to his experience as a public speaker and understanding of public affairs, Davis had a higher chance of becoming a leader.

Difference Between Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis

Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States. He served as President from 1861 to 1865 during the American Civil War. Five days after most Confederate forces had surrendered and the war was ending, John Wilkes Booth assassinated Lincoln. Lincoln was the first president of the United States to be assassinated. As an outspoken opponent of the expansion of slavery in the United States, Lincoln won the Republican Party nomination in 1860 and was elected President later that year.

Jefferson Davis was born June 3, 1808, in Fairview, Kentucky. His parents, Samuel and Jane Davis, were planters. Jefferson was their fifth child. Jefferson was named after Thomas Jefferson, the third U.S. president, who had died the previous year. In 1811, when Jefferson was three years old, his family moved to Rosemont in Woodville, Mississippi Territory (now Wilkinson County, Mississippi). They moved to a place where they could grow cotton on their large plantation.

Comparison Table Between Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis

Parameters of ComparisonAbraham LincolnJefferson Davis
Born onOn February 12, 1809, Abraham Lincoln was born.On June 3, 1808, Jefferson Davis was born.
Died on In comparison to Jefferson Davis, Abraham Lincoln lacked political and military experience.On December 6, 1889, Jefferson Davis died.
Position The Union’s leader was Abraham Lincoln.Jefferson Davis was head of the Confederacy.
Experience In comparison to Jefferson Davis, Abraham Lincoln lacks political and military experience.Unlike Abraham Lincoln, Jefferson Davis had more significant political and military experience.
Cause of deathIn the middle of a performance, Abraham Lincoln was shot in the head and murdered.While in New Orleans, Jefferson Davis passed away from acute bronchitis.
Resting placeIn Arlington National Cemetery outside Washington, DC, Abraham Lincoln is buried.The Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond is where Jefferson Davis rests.

What is Abraham Lincoln?

Abraham Lincoln was an American statesman and lawyer. He was the President of the United States when he was assassinated and commanded the country until his death.

He is considered one of the most influential figures in American history. He is also known as “Honest Abe” and “The Great Emancipator.” On February 12, 1809, he was born to Thomas Lincoln and Nancy Hanks Lincoln near Hodgenville, Kentucky. Lincoln was raised in a low-income family, and he had little education. He worked various jobs for a long time before becoming a lawyer. He specialized in land law.

Lincoln married Mary Todd in 1842. They had four children together: Robert, Edward (who died at age 3), William (who died at age 11), and Thomas (who died at age 18).

Lincoln’s political career began in 1837 when he became an Illinois House of Representatives member. He represented Illinois in the U.S Congress from 1847 to 1849. In 1860, Lincoln ran for President as a member of the new Republican Party. His campaign focused on stopping the spread of slavery into any new Western territories that were not yet part of the United States. 

What is Jefferson Davis?

Born in Kentucky on June 3, 1808, Jefferson Davis studied at Transylvania University and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point before joining the U.S. Army as a lieutenant. He served in the Mexican-American War (1846-48), took part in California’s Gold Rush, and was elected to the House of Representatives as a Democrat from Mississippi in 1845. After resigning his seat, Davis joined the U.S. Senate in 1847. Still, he left politics to manage his plantations and serve as railroad company president until 1861, when he returned to military service during the Civil War (1861-65).

As President of the Confederate States of America, Jefferson Davis served the United States from 1861 to 1865 before being captured by Union soldiers during the war’s final year and jailed until 1867. After his release, he published The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government (1881). He died on December 6, 1889, in New Orleans, Louisiana.

As President of the Confederate States of America, Jefferson Davis served the United States. As a Mississippi congressman and Secretary of War under President Franklin Pierce, he was known for his moderate stance on slavery. He was also a West Point graduate, a U.S. Army Colonel, and a former U.S. Senator from Mississippi.

Main Differences Between Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis 

  1. Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809, whereas Jefferson Davis was born on June 3, 1808.
  2. Abraham Lincoln died on April 15, 1865, at 56, while Jefferson Davis died on December 6, 1889.
  3. Abraham Lincoln was the Union’s President. Jefferson Davis, on the other hand, was the Confederacy’s commander-in-chief.
  4. Abraham Lincoln lacked the political and military expertise that Jefferson Davis possessed.
  5. Abraham Lincoln was shot in the head and assassinated in the middle of a performance. On the other hand, Jefferson Davis died in New Orleans due to severe bronchitis.
  6. Jefferson Davis is buried at the Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, whereas Abraham Lincoln is interred at Arlington National Cemetery outside Washington, DC.


Abraham Lincoln was born to an uneducated farmer in a log cabin in Kentucky. He was not physically attractive but intelligent and had excellent humor. He was also very ambitious. Through hard work and determination, he became one of the greatest statesmen in American history.

Jefferson Davis was born to a wealthy planter family near Kentucky. He attended West Point military academy and served as an officer on the frontier. He married the daughter of Zachary Taylor, a future U.S. president. Davis became a U.S. senator from Mississippi and secretary of war under Franklin Pierce before resigning to manage his plantation full-time.


  1. https://www.jstor.org/stable/2205870
  2. https://www.pdcnet.org/cwh/content/cwh_1981_0027_0001_0049_0063
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