Jefferson Davis, the first and last President of the Confederate States of America, advocated a paternalistic approach to slaveholding. He believed that white rule over black slaves was beneficial and benevolent toward blacks. Davis claimed that this was how he managed his own plantation.
This lie was exposed to the world when US troops raided his plantation in Mississippi in 1863. Davis's slaves happily embraced their freedom. This sketch by Frederick B. Schell, an illustrator for Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, captured the scene:
Because of this very public point of view, a sketch of Davis’ slaves arriving in the Union camp was doubly significant: it was proof that the Union soldiers’ enforcement of the Emancipation Proclamation had reached even to Davis’ domain, and it was evidence that his slaves wanted nothing to do with him.
The Illustrated’s editors, in the text that accompanied the published engraving made from this sketch, mused that the scene “seemed in itself the doom of slavery.”
(Photo: New York Historical Society)