Alexander Hamilton Stephens, who served as Vice President of the Confederacy, was born on February 11, 1812, in Taliaferro County, Georgia. He received a college education at the University of Georgia at Athens, where he graduated in 1832. In 1834, Stephens passed the bar and entered the world of law. A couple of years later, politics called, and he was elected to the Georgia House of Representative, serving from 1836-1842, when he was elected to the Georgia State Senate. His next big move came in 1843 when he was chosen to finish the term of a U. S. Congressman who had resigned his seat in the 28th Congress. He continued to be elected to the House and served as a representative until 1859.
When time came for Georgia to decide if it would stay in the Union or leave with its fellow Southern state, Stephens was elected to the secession convention—as a unionist. However, he did sign Georgia’s Ordinance of Secession, and shortly thereafter, was elected to serve in the Confederate Congress. In the Confederate Congress, Stephens chaired the Committee on the Executive Department and the always-powerful Rules Committee. The same Confederate Congress in which Stephens sat elected him Vice President of the Confederacy. As Vice President he was in almost constant conflict with President Jefferson Davis over policy and the conduct of the war.
In 1863, President Davis sent Stephens to Washington to discuss prisoner exchanges and, if possible, a negotiated peace. However, the meeting failed and Stephens returned to Richmond. In 1865, Stephens was again sent to meet with Federal officials about a negotiated peace, this time at Hampton Roads, Virginia. This effort also failed, as the Union armies were very near complete victory on the battlefield.
After the war Federal official arrested Stephens and imprisoned him at Fort Warren in Boston Harbor until October 1865. In 1866 he was elected to the U. S. Congress, but was denied his seat due to the fact that Georgia had not yet been readmitted into the Union. However, seven years later, after Georgia had been readmitted, Stephens was again elected to Congress, where he served as a Georgia Representative until 1882. In 1882, Stephens became Governor of Georgia, but died on March 3, 1883, in Atlanta before fulfilling his term. He is buried at his home, Liberty Hall, near Crawfordville, Georgia.