Vice President of the Confederate States of America

Last updated
Vice President of the
Confederate States of America
Seal of the Confederate States of America.svg
Style The Honorable
Residence Court End
Appointer Electoral College
FormationFebruary 18, 1861
First holder Alexander H. Stephens
Final holderAlexander H. Stephens
AbolishedMay 5, 1865

The Vice President of the Confederate States of America was the office held by Alexander H. Stephens of Georgia, who served under President Jefferson Davis of Mississippi from February 18, 1861, until the dissolution of the Confederacy on May 5, 1865. Having first been elected by the Provisional Confederate States Congress, both were considered provisional office-holders until they won the presidential election of November 6, 1861 without opposition and inaugurated on February 22, 1862. [1]

Alexander H. Stephens 19th-century American politician and Vice-President of the Confederate States of America

Alexander Hamilton Stephens was an American politician who served as the only Vice President of the Confederate States from 1861 to 1865, and later as the 50th Governor of Georgia from 1882 until his death in 1883. A member of the Democratic Party, Stephens represented the state of Georgia in the United States House of Representatives prior to becoming Governor.

Georgia (U.S. state) State of the United States of America

Georgia is a state in the Southeastern United States. It began as a British colony in 1733, the last and southernmost of the original Thirteen Colonies to be established. Named after King George II of Great Britain, the Province of Georgia covered the area from South Carolina south to Spanish Florida and west to French Louisiana at the Mississippi River. Georgia was the fourth state to ratify the United States Constitution, on January 2, 1788. In 1802–1804, western Georgia was split to the Mississippi Territory, which later split to form Alabama with part of former West Florida in 1819. Georgia declared its secession from the Union on January 19, 1861, and was one of the original seven Confederate states. It was the last state to be restored to the Union, on July 15, 1870. Georgia is the 24th largest and the 8th most populous of the 50 United States. From 2007 to 2008, 14 of Georgia's counties ranked among the nation's 100 fastest-growing, second only to Texas. Georgia is known as the Peach State and the Empire State of the South. Atlanta, the state's capital and most populous city, has been named a global city. Atlanta's metropolitan area contains about 55% of the population of the entire state.

President of the Confederate States of America head of state and of government of the Confederate States

The President of the Confederate States of America was the elected head of state and government of the Confederate States. The president also headed the executive branch of government and was commander-in-chief of the Army and Navy, and of the militia of the several states when called into Confederate service.

Contents

The office

According to the Confederate States Constitution, the Vice President's office was almost entirely identical to that of the Vice President of the United States. [2]

Confederate States Constitution Supreme statute of the Confederate States of America

The Confederate States Constitution, formally the Constitution of the Confederate States of America, was the supreme law of the Confederate States, as adopted on March 11, 1861, and in effect from February 22, 1862, through the conclusion of the American Civil War. The Confederacy also operated under a Provisional Constitution from February 8, 1861, to February 22, 1862. The original Provisional Constitution is currently located at the American Civil War Museum in Richmond, Virginia, and differs slightly from the version later adopted. The final, hand-written document is currently located in the University of Georgia archives at Athens, Georgia. In regard to most articles of the Constitution, the document is a word-for-word duplicate of the United States Constitution. However, there are crucial differences between the two documents, in tone and legal content, primarily regarding slavery.

Vice President of the United States Second highest executive office in United States

The vice president of the United States is the second-highest officer in the executive branch of the U.S. federal government, after the president of the United States, and ranks first in the presidential line of succession. The vice president is also an officer in the legislative branch, as president of the Senate. In this capacity, the vice president presides over Senate deliberations, but may not vote except to cast a tie-breaking vote. The vice president also presides over joint sessions of Congress.

The Vice President was elected by an electoral college (closely modeled after the U.S. Electoral College) along with the President. Electors had to cast one of their votes for someone not from their State. If no candidate won a majority in the Electoral College, the Confederate Senate would elect the Vice President from the top two vote-getters. Like the President, the Vice President had to be a natural-born citizen of the Confederacy or a natural-born citizen of the U.S. born prior to December 20, 1860, and a resident in the Confederacy for over 14 years.

The major difference between the U.S. and the C.S. Vice Presidencies was that the Confederate term in office was six years long. The President was explicitly forbidden from running for a second term by the constitution, but the Vice President was not. It was unclear whether or not a Vice President, who became President in the middle of a term, could run for his own term afterward.

Duties

The Vice President's primary duty was presiding over the Confederate Senate and breaking tied votes, as the U.S. Vice President presides and breaks ties in the U.S. Senate. He was also the first person in the line of succession. If the President died, resigned or was removed from office, the Vice President would become the new president for the remainder of his term. This never happened.

During his tenure in office, Vice President Alexander Stephens grew increasingly distant from President Davis and spent less and less time in Richmond, the Confederate capital. He eventually spent much of his time trying, without success, to maintain diplomatic channels with the USA and pushed for a negotiated end to the war. He was sent by Davis to represent the Confederate government at the Hampton Roads peace conference. [3]

Hampton Roads Conference peace conference held between the United States and the Confederate States on February 3, 1865

The Hampton Roads Conference was a peace conference held between the United States and the Confederate States on February 3, 1865, aboard the steamboat River Queen in Hampton Roads, Virginia, to discuss terms to end the American Civil War. President Abraham Lincoln and Secretary of State William H. Seward, representing the Union, met with three commissioners from the Confederacy: Vice President Alexander H. Stephens, Senator Robert M. T. Hunter, and Assistant Secretary of War John A. Campbell.

List of vice presidents

PortraitVice PresidentStateTerm of officePartyTermPrevious office President
1 Alexander Stephens.jpg    Alexander H. Stephens
February 11, 1812 – March 4, 1883
(aged 71)
Georgia February 18, 1861 [n 1]

May 11, 1865
None1
(1861)
U.S. Representative for
Georgia's 8th
  Jefferson Davis

See also

Postage stamps and postal history of the Confederate States

The postage stamps and postal system of the Confederate States of America carried the mail of the Confederacy for a brief period in American history. Early in 1861 when South Carolina no longer considered itself part of the Union and demanded that the U.S. Army abandon Fort Sumter, plans for a Confederate postal system were already underway. Indeed, the Confederate Post office was established on February 21, 1861; and it was not until April 12 that the American Civil War officially began, when the Confederate Army fired upon US soldiers who had refused to abandon the fort. However, the United States Post Office Department continued to handle the mail of the seceded states as usual during the first weeks of the war. It was not until June 1 that the Confederate Post office took over collection and delivery, now faced with the task of providing postage stamps and mail services for its citizens.

Treatment of slaves in the United States

The treatment of slaves in the United States varied by time and place, but was generally brutal and degrading. Whipping and sexual abuse, including rape, were common.

Notes

  1. Stephens was the Provisional Vice President under the Provisional Confederate States Constitution from February 18, 1861 to February 22, 1862 when his six year term under the permanent Confederate States Constitution began.

Related Research Articles

Confederate States of America (de facto) federal republic in North America from 1861 to 1865

The Confederate States of America, commonly referred to as the Confederacy, was an unrecognized country in North America that existed from 1861 to 1865. The Confederacy was originally formed by seven secessionist slave-holding states—South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas—in the Lower South region of the United States, whose economy was heavily dependent upon agriculture, particularly cotton, and a plantation system that relied upon the labor of African-American slaves.

Electoral college set of electors who are selected to elect a candidate to a particular office

An electoral college is a set of electors who are selected to elect a candidate to a particular office. Often these represent different organizations, political parties, or entities, with each organization, political party or entity represented by a particular number of electors or with votes weighted in a particular way.

Robert Toombs American politician

Robert Augustus Toombs was an American lawyer, planter, and politician from Georgia who became one of the organizers of the Confederacy and served as its first Secretary of State. He served in Jefferson Davis' cabinet as well as in the Confederate States Army, but later became one of Davis' critics. He fled the United States after the Confederate defeat, returning in 1867 after his daughter's death. He regained political power in Georgia as Congressional Reconstruction ended.

Timeline of United States history (1860–1899)

This section of the Timeline of United States history concerns events from 1860 to 1899.

Robert Woodward Barnwell American politician

Robert Woodward Barnwell was an American planter, lawyer, and educator from South Carolina who served as a Senator in both the United States Senate and that of the Confederate States of America.

Howell Cobb American politician

Thomas Howell Cobb was an American political figure. A southern Democrat, Cobb was a five-term member of the United States House of Representatives and Speaker of the House from 1849 to 1851. He also served as the 40th Governor of Georgia (1851–1853) and as a Secretary of the Treasury under President James Buchanan (1857–1860).

John Henninger Reagan American politician

John Henninger Reagan was an American politician from the U.S. state of Texas. A Democrat, Reagan resigned from the U.S. House of Representatives when Texas seceded from the Union and joined the Confederate States of America. He served in the cabinet of Jefferson Davis as Postmaster General. After the Confederate defeat, he called for cooperation with the federal government, an unpopular position. He was elected to Congress in 1874, after his predictions of harsh treatment for resistance were proved correct. He also served in the U.S. Senate from 1887 to 1891, and as chairman of the Texas Railroad Commission. He was among founders of the Texas State Historical Association.

Confederate States Congress historic legislature of the Confederate States

The Confederate States Congress was both the provisional and permanent legislative assembly of the Confederate States of America that existed from 1861 to 1865. Its actions were for the most part concerned with measures to establish a new national government for the Southern "revolution", and to prosecute a war that had to be sustained throughout the existence of the Confederacy. At first, it met as a provisional congress both in Montgomery, Alabama and Richmond, Virginia.

Provisional Congress of the Confederate States historic legislature of the provisional government of the Confederate States

The Provisional Congress of the Confederate States, also known as the Provisional Congress of the Confederate States of America, was a congress of deputies and delegates called together from the Southern States which became the governing body of the Provisional Government of the Confederate States of America (CSA) from February 4, 1861, to February 17, 1862. It sat in Montgomery, Alabama, until May 20, 1861, when it adjourned to meet in Richmond, Virginia, on July 20, 1861. It added new members as other states seceded and directed the election on November 6, 1861, at which a permanent government was elected.

The Provisional Constitution of the Confederate States, formally the Constitution for the Provisional Government of the Confederate States of America, was an agreement among all seven original states in the Confederate States of America that served as its first constitution. Its drafting by a committee of twelve appointed by the Provisional Congress began on February 5, 1861. The Provisional Constitution was formally adopted on February 8. Government under this constitution was superseded by the new Confederate States Constitution with a permanent form of government "organized on the principles of the United States" on February 22, 1862.

Jackson Morton American politician

Jackson Morton was an American politician. A member of the Whig Party, he represented Florida as a U.S. Senator from 1849 to 1855. He also served as a Deputy from Florida to the Provisional Congress of the Confederate States from 1861 to 1862.

Benjamin Harvey Hill American politician

Benjamin Harvey Hill was a politician whose career spanned state and national politics, and the Civil War. He served in the Georgia legislature in both houses. Although he had opposed secession, he stayed with the South and served as a Confederate senator representing Georgia.

Henry Cornelius Burnett American politician

Henry Cornelius Burnett was an American politician who served as a Confederate States Senator from Kentucky from 1862 to 1865. From 1855 to 1861, Burnett served four terms in the United States House of Representatives. A lawyer by profession, Burnett had held only one public office—circuit court clerk—before being elected to Congress. He represented Kentucky's 1st congressional district immediately prior to the Civil War. This district contained the entire Jackson Purchase region of the state, which was more sympathetic to the Confederate cause than any other area of Kentucky. Burnett promised the voters of his district that he would have President Abraham Lincoln arraigned for treason. Unionist newspaper editor George D. Prentice described Burnett as "a big, burly, loud-mouthed fellow who is forever raising points of order and objections, to embarrass the Republicans in the House".

Military of the Confederate States of America

The Military of the Confederate States of America existed between 1861 and 1865, and was tasked throughout its existence with fighting the American Civil War. It comprised three branches: the Confederate States Army, the Confederate States Navy and the Confederate States Marine Corps. It was disbanded with the collapse of the Confederacy.

Confederate States presidential election November 1861 process electing the president of the Confederate States of America

The Confederate States presidential election of November 6, 1861 was the only presidential election held under the Permanent Constitution of the Confederate States of America. Jefferson Davis, who had been elected president and Alexander H. Stephens, who had been elected vice president, under the Provisional Constitution, were elected to six-year terms as the Confederate States' first permanent president and vice president.

References

  1. World Statesmen.org
  2. "Yale University". Archived from the original on 2012-09-15. Retrieved 2012-03-20.
  3. New Georgia Encyclopedia