Jefferson Finis Davis (June 3, 1808 – December 6, 1889) was an American military officer, statesman and leader of the Confederacy during the American Civil War, serving as the president of the Confederate States of America for its entire history, 1861 to 1865. A West Point graduate, Davis fought in the Mexican-American War as a colonel of a volunteer regiment, and was the United States secretary of war under Pres. Franklin Pierce.
The United States presidential election of 1852 was in many ways a replay of the election of 1844. Once again, the incumbent President was a Whig who had succeeded to the presidency upon the death of his war hero predecessor; in this case, it was Millard Fillmore who followed General Zachary Taylor. The Whig party passed over the incumbent for nomination — casting aside Fillmore in favor of General Winfield Scott.
The United States presidential election of 1856 was unusually heated. Republican candidate John C. Frémont condemned the Kansas-Nebraska Act, and crusaded against the Slave Power and the expansion of slavery, while Democrat James Buchanan warned that the Republicans were extremists whose victory would lead to civil war. The Democrats endorsed the moderate “popular sovereignty” approach to slavery expansion utilized in the Kansas-Nebraska Act.
William Rufus DeVane King (April 7, 1786 – April 18, 1853) was the 13th Vice President of the United States, and earlier a U.S. Representative from North Carolina, Minister to France, and a Senator from Alabama. King died of tuberculosis after 45 days in office. With the exceptions of John Tyler and Andrew Johnson—both of whom succeeded to the Presidency—he remains the shortest-serving Vice President.