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Alexander H. Stephens
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    (February 11, 1812-March 4, 1883)
    Born in Crawfordville, Georgia
    US Representative from Georgia (1843-59,1873-82)
    Vice-President of the Confederate States of America (1861-65)
    Governor of Georgia (1882-83)
    Whig turned Constitutional Unionist turned Democrat
    He was frail, usually weighing less than 100 pounds (at a height of 5'7).
    He owned slaves.
    He challenged fellow House members to duels.
    One of the men he challenged, Benjamin Hill, declined with the comment, 'I have a soul to save and a family to support, while you have neither.'
    Although he voted against secession, he joined the Confederate government.
    He declaration that slavery was the 'cornerstone' of the Confederacy alienated European nations that might otherwise have supported the South.
    He publicly attcked President Jefferson Davis' policies on conscription, taxation and military strategy.
    He was one of the three Confederate delegates who met with Lincoln at the Hampton Roads Conference (February 3, 1865), an attempt to negotiate a truce that proved futile since the Confederates insisted that they remain a separate country while Lincoln was adamant that they rejoin the US.
    He graduated at the top of his class from the University of Georgia.
    Before going into politics, he was an attorney who never lost a case where his client faced the death penalty.
    During his first Congressional campaign, his opponent contemptuously said, 'I could swallow you whole and never know the difference.' Stephens replied, 'If you did, there would be more brains in your belly than will ever be in your head.'
    During an argument over slavery, he was stabbed six times by Judge Francis Cone (1848).
    During the Georgia Secession Convention, he urged the state to stay in the Union, pointing out that since Republicans were a minority in the Senate, they would be forced to compromise, and because the Supreme Court had decided the Dred Scott case by a 7-2 vote, it would take decades of appointments before it could be reversed.
    Most of his former slaves continued working for him as servants after emancipation.

Credit: C. Fishel

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