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 Advocating the Mexican war while a member of the House of Representatives from Mississippi, he resigned his seat there to take command of a Mississippi regiment and share the hardships and dangers of the field. When later his party in Mississippi seemed to be losing ground, and General Quitman, its candidate for Governor, retired, a popular election giving forecast of 7,500 majority against him, Jefferson Davis resigned his seat in the United States Senate to accept its leadership and become its nominee, and with such effect did he rally its ranks that he came within 1,000 votes of election. When he turned homeward from Mexico, the laurelled hero of Buena Vista, he was everywhere hailed with acclamation, and a commission as brigadier-general of volunteers in the United States army was tendered him by President Polk. We may well conceive with what pride the young soldier, not yet forty years of age, would welcome so rare an honor in the cherished profession which had kindled his youthful ardor, and in which he had become now so signally distinguished. But he had taught the doctrine that the State and not the Federal government was the true constitutional fountain of such an honor, and from another hand he would not bend his knightly brow to receive it. And yet later on, when summoned from the privacy of home to a place in the Cabinet of President Pierce, he declined because he believed it to be his duty to remain in Mississippi and wrestle for the cause with which he was identified. Thus did he abandon or decline the highest dignities of civil and military life, always putting principle in the lead, and himself anywhere that would best support it.
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