Alexander Stephens represented Georgia in Congress from 1843 until 1859, where he consistently supported the perpetuation of the Union, states rights, and slavery. In 1850, as loyal Southerners and ardent abolitionists called for a military solution to the status of slavery in the territories, Stephens took a position that proved prophetic: "You may think that the suppression of an outbreak in the southern States would be a holiday job for a few of your northern regiments, but you may find to your cost, in the end, that seven millions of people fighting for their rights their homes and their hearth-stones cannot be 'easily conquered'." Early in 1861, delegates from the seceded states met to draft a constitution, and elected Jefferson Davis President and Alexander Stephens Vice President. With few responsibilities and little power, Stephens most notable act came in early February 1865, when he met secretly (and unsuccessfully) with President Lincoln and Secretary of State Seward to negotiate a peaceful settlement on condition of Confederate independence. Stephens's enjoyed a vigorous career for nearly two decades after the end of the war, writing several long histories of the Civil War, and serving again in Congress.
Alexander Hamilton Stephens
1812 - 1883
silver albumen print
(carte de visite), 1859
National Portrait Gallery,
Smithsonian Institution
Washington, DC