Alexander Hamilton Stephens, 11 Feb 1812 - 4 Mar 1883
Image/Plate: 10.5 x 8.2cm (4 1/8 x 3 1/4")
Case Open: 11.9 x 19.1 x 1.6cm (4 11/16 x 7 1/2 x 5/8")
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Born Taliaferro County, Georgia
Alexander H. Stephens was a powerful advocate for southern interests throughout his tenure in Congress (1843–59). Both a Unionist and a steadfast defender of slavery, Stephens endorsed the Compromise of 1850 and was instrumental in winning approval of the Kansas–Nebraska Act. When the Democratic Party split during the 1860 presidential campaign, he supported Stephen Douglas rather than fellow southerner John C. Breckinridge. In the wake of Abraham Lincoln’s victory, Stephens counseled against a headlong rush toward secession. However, when delegates from the southern states convened in Montgomery, Alabama, in February 1861 to form the Confederacy, Stephens accepted its vice presidency.