Rice University’s project The Papers of Jefferson Davis has been blogged about earlier, but there are two documents relevant to the Election of 1860 that I wanted to point out. The project is an attempt to compile all of Davis’s documents into a 15-volume set (twelve of which has been published so far), and in the process some of the important letters and speeches have been digitized as well. Volume 6 of the collection contains materials from the years 1856-1860, particularly two important documents from 1860: an Address to the National Democracy in May 1860 and a speech from Washington, D.C. in July 1860. The first document is a summary of the events of the Democratic National Convention that took place in Charleston and resulted in the splitting of the party into two factions over the slavery issue. Davis actually praises the “lofty manifestation of adherence to principle” displayed on the part of the Southern delegates who withdrew from the convention, but insists that if the demands of the Southern delegates are met during the new Baltimore convention “no motive will remain for refusing to unite with their sister States.” He appears to believe that the demands of the Southern “fire-eaters” may still be met by the other half of the Democratic party, and the party can unite once again in time for the election. The address urges Southern democrats to await the outcome of the Baltimore convention before holding their own convention in Richmond, and was affirmed by 18 members of Congress. Jefferson Davis’s speech from Washington, D.C. in July of 1860 presents a markedly different tone. The speech is short, but it sends the powerful message that although the Democratic party is split, it is not dead. He contrasts the Southern Democratic party with the other three parties, calling the Northern Democrats a “spurious and decayed off-shoot of democracy,” and bemoaning “Abe Lincoln’s efforts to rend the Union.” Finally he endorses John Breckinridge for president, declaring that “he has split a hundred rails to Lincoln’s one!” These two primary documents demonstrate the progression of the splitting of the Democratic party in a very clear way, from the hopeful moment that the party can again unify to the finality of the factions nominating different candidates for president.