05 June 2019

BOOK: Robert ICENHAUER-RAMIREZ, Treason on Trial : The United States v. Jefferson Davis (Baton Rouge: LSU Press, 2019). ISBN 9780807170809, $55.00

(Source: LSU Press)

LSU Press has published a new book on the indictment of Jefferson Davis after the US civil war.


In the immediate aftermath of the Civil War, federal officials captured, imprisoned, and indicted Jefferson Davis for treason. He faced execution if found guilty for his role in levying war against the United States. Although the federal government pursued the charges for over four years, the case never went to trial. Most historical analyses of the case focus on interpreting the political reasons why that happened by analyzing the reasons in the broadest national contours. According to Robert Icenhauer-Ramirez, these global assessments, while important, do not attempt to discern how the lives and experiences of those individuals responsible for either prosecuting or defending Davis, or those with a direct interest in the outcome, influenced the handling of the case. He argues that while national politics had a role in the direction of the case, it was the actions and decisions of lesser-known men and women that ultimately were responsible for the failure to convict Davis. Treason on Trial: The United States v. Jefferson Davis focuses on precisely why that happened.


Robert Icenhauer-Ramirez is an attorney based in Austin, TX. He earned a doctorate in history at the University of Texas, Austin.

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