Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis were American presidents during the Civil War; Lincoln for the Union states and Davis for the Confederate states. It is commonly recognized that Lincoln was the most successful, and respected; "Lincoln is judged to be the president that fully embodied the American spirit of equality, inclusion, and civic nationalism, and Davis, the contrary spirit of hierarchy, exclusion, and ethnic nationalism. Davis was trying to establish a separate republic and Lincoln was trying to preserve the Union." .
Was Lincoln truly the better president of the two? If he had been leading the Southern cause and not the Northern cause, would the South have won the Civil War? By comparing the early life and education, leadership qualities and wartime presidents, Lincoln and Davis can be found as remarkably similar but starkly different. Yet, if Lincoln was the Southern president, it is very hard to believe that the South would have won the war. Many things were important to the reason behind the North winning the Civil War and a lot of those reasons rest with Lincoln and how he was able to save the Union. .
According to David Donald in his book "Why the North Won the Civil War," "Lincoln was a model of effective political leadership, decisive, flexible, and a master politician adept at negotiating the sometimes treacherous byways of democracy." While Davis was criticized for "failure to provide adequate guidance for Southern people at crucial moments during the war, was uncompromising, had an avowed hatred of politics, and though repeated attempts to stand above the fray of parties and factions was unable to govern effectively. But the one thing that mattered the most about Lincoln and Davis was that they were fighting a war, not because of how important slavery was but because of state rights. .
To understand how and why each president believed the way that they did, one has to look back to their childhood.