The Life And Times Of Henry Stuart Foote (Chauncey Lecture 2019)

Time Period
1825 to 1860
1861 to 1876
Media Type
Civil War
Politics & Government
Ben Wynne

On July 1, 2019, Ben Wynne delivered the 2019 Hazel and Fulton Chauncey Lecture, "The Life and Times of Henry Stuart Foote, Southern Unionist and 'The Man Who Punched Jefferson Davis.'"

This lecture presents the life of antebellum politician Henry Stuart Foote (1804–1880), one of the most vocal, volatile, and well-traveled politicians of the nineteenth century, and “The Man Who Punched Jefferson Davis.” Born in Virginia, Foote moved to Alabama and then Mississippi during the 1830s and made a name for himself as a gifted and zealously aggressive lawyer and political personality. He was an eyewitness to most of the great historical events of his lifetime and he opined on everything. He helped raise money for the Texas Revolution, represented Mississippi in the United States Senate and as governor, played an important role in negotiation over the Compromise of 1850, served as a Confederate congressman from Tennessee and also affected politics in California and Louisiana. He wrote numerous books and until his death remained one of Jefferson Davis’s most caustic critics.

A native of Florence, Mississippi, Ben Wynne earned an undergraduate degree at Millsaps College, a master’s degree in history at Mississippi College, and a doctorate in history from the University of Mississippi. He has taught at the University of Mississippi, Valdosta State University, and Florida State University, and is currently in his thirteenth year as professor of history at the University of North Georgia in Gainesville, Georgia, where he specializes in antebellum American studies, the American South, and the Civil War era. He has written numerous books and other material related to the South and southern culture, including "A Hard Trip: A History of the 15th Mississippi Infantry, CSA"; "Mississippi’s Civil War: A Narrative History"; "In Tune: Charley Patton, Jimmie Rodgers and the Roots of American Music"; and "The Man Who Punched Jefferson Davis: The Political Life of Henry Stuart Foote, Southern Unionist."

The content and opinions expressed in these presentations are solely those of the speaker and not necessarily of the Virginia Museum of History & Culture.

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