Tools Menu

Share Your Feedback

Winner of two 2013 Emmy Awards from the Southeast Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences

Today in Georgia History
is a joint collaboration of the Georgia Historical Society & Georgia Public Broadcasting.

November 14

Get Adobe Flash player

Alexander Stephens

November 14, 1860 - Milledgeville
The threat of secession hung heavy over the land eight days after Abraham Lincoln’s election. Alexander Stephens, who had known Lincoln from his days in Congress, addressed the Georgia General Assembly on this day in 1860. He told the legislature secession was premature.

Alexander Hamilton Stephens, born in 1812 near Crawfordville, had been a dominant force in Georgia politics for half a century. Stephens staunchly defended slavery, but adamantly opposed secession. He argued that Lincoln’s constitutional and peaceful election alone didn’t justify breaking up the Union and told his fellow Georgians, “I am for exhausting all that patriotism demands before taking the last step.”

When Georgia seceded in January 1861, Stephens had deep misgivings. But he was elected Jefferson Davis’s Confederate vice president, in part because of his political moderation. Quarrelling openly with Davis, his years as vice president were marked by disappointment and frustration.

The man called “Little Aleck” -- he weighed barely 100 pounds -- gave one of his most memorable speeches in a moment of great crisis on November 14, 1860, Today in Georgia History.

Resources

Vocabulary

Daily Activity

Learn More & Image Credits

Related Topics

nineteenth century, Civil War, politics, government, legislature, Power Authority and Governance, Individuals groups and Institutions, Individual Development and Identity, Civic Ideals and Practices

Related Articles
& Links

Alexander Stephens ...

Tunis Campbell...

Alexander Stephens ...

Fast Fact

After serving 5 months in prison after the Civil War, Stephens was voted back to the U.S. Senate. However, northern Republicans refused to seat him.