Alexander H. Stephens
Alexander Hamilton Stephens was an American politician who served as the only Vice President of the Confederate States from 1861 to 1865, as the 50th Governor of Georgia from 1882 until his death in 1883. A member of the Democratic Party, Stephens represented the state of Georgia in the United States House of Representatives prior to becoming Governor. Stephens attended Franklin College and established a legal practice in his home town of Crawfordville, Georgia. After serving in both houses of the Georgia General Assembly, he won election to Congress, taking his seat in 1843, he became a leading Southern Whig and opposed the Mexican–American War. After the war, Stephens was a prominent supporter of the Compromise of 1850 and helped draft the Georgia Platform, which opposed secession. A proponent of the expansion of slavery into the territories, Stephens helped pass the Kansas–Nebraska Act; as the Whig Party collapsed in the 1850s, Stephens joined the Democratic Party and worked with President James Buchanan to admit Kansas as a state under the Lecompton Constitution.
Stephens continued to publicly advocate against secession. After Georgia and other Southern states seceded and formed the Confederate States of America, Stephens was elected as the Confederate Vice President. Stephens's Cornerstone Speech of March 1861 defended slavery, though after the war he distanced himself from his earlier sentiments. In the course of the war, he became critical of President Jefferson Davis's policies conscription and the suspension of habeas corpus. In February 1865, he was one of the commissioners who met with Abraham Lincoln at the abortive Hampton Roads Conference to discuss peace terms. After the war, Stephens was imprisoned until October 1865; the following year, the Georgia legislature elected Stephens to the United States Senate, but the Senate declined to seat him due to his role in the Civil War. He won election to the House of Representatives in 1873 and held that office until 1882, when he resigned from Congress to become Governor of Georgia. Stephens served as governor until his death in March 1883.
Stephens was born on February 11, 1812. His parents were Margaret Grier; the Stephenses lived on a farm in Georgia. At the time of Alexander Stephens's birth, the farm was part of Wilkes County. Taliaferro County was created in 1825 from land in Greene, Oglethorpe and Wilkes counties, his father, a native of Pennsylvania, came to Georgia at 12 years of age, in 1795. According to the Biographical Sketch of Linton Stephens, Andrew B. Stephens was "endowed with uncommon intellectual faculties. In the introduction to Recollections of Alexander H. Stephens, there is this about his mother and her family: "Margaret came of folk who had a liking for books, a turn for law and meteorology." The introduction continues: "In her son's character was a marked blending of parental traits. He was thrifty, progressive. In 1814, Andrew B. Stephens married Matilda Lindsay, daughter of Revolutionary War Colonel John Lindsay. In May 1826, when Alexander Stephens was 14 years old, his father and stepmother, died of pneumonia only days apart.
Their deaths caused several siblings to be scattered among relatives. He grew up poor and in difficult circumstances. Not long after the deaths of his father and his stepmother, Alexander Stephens was sent to live with his mother's other brother, General Aaron W. Grier, near Raytown, Georgia. General Grier had inherited his own father's library, said to be "the largest library in all that part of the country." Alexander Stephens, who read voraciously as a youth, mentions the library in his "Recollections." Frail but precocious, the young Stephens acquired his continued education through the generosity of several benefactors. One of them was the Presbyterian minister Alexander Hamilton Webster, who presided over a school in Washington, Georgia. Out of respect for his mentor, Stephens adopted Hamilton, as his own. Stephens attended the Franklin College in Athens, where he was roommates with Crawford W. Long and a member of the Phi Kappa Literary Society, he raised funds for Phi Kappa Hall, located on the university campus.
Stephens graduated at the top of his class in 1832. Stephens was sickly throughout his life, most painfully from "crippling rheumatoid arthritis and a pinched nerve in his back". Though his adult height was 5 feet 7 inches, he weighed less than 100 pounds. After several unhappy years teaching in school, Stephens began legal studies, was admitted to the Georgia bar in 1834, began a successful career as a lawyer in Crawfordville. During his 32 years of practice, he gained a reputation as a capable defender of the wrongfully accused. None of his clients charged with capital crimes were executed; as his wealth increased, Stephens began acquiring land and slaves. By the time of the Civil War, Stephens owned several thousand acres, he entered politics in 1836, was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives, serving there until 1841. In 1842, he was elected to the Georgia Senate. Stephens served in th
Joshua Reed Giddings
Joshua Reed Giddings was an American attorney, politician and a prominent opponent of slavery. He represented Ohio in the U. S. House of Representatives from 1838–59, he was at first a member of the Whig Party and was a Republican, helping found the party. Giddings was censured in 1842 for violating the gag rule against discussing slavery in the House of Representatives when he proposed a number of Resolutions arguing against federal support for the coastwise slave trade, in relation to the Creole case, he resigned, but was overwhelmingly re-elected by his Ohio constituents in a special election to fill the vacant seat. He served a total of nearly twenty more years as representative. Joshua Reed Giddings was born at Tioga Point, now Athens, Bradford County, Pennsylvania, on 6 October 1795, his family moved that same year to New York, where they spent the next ten years. In 1806 his parents Elizabeth and Joshua Giddings moved the family to Ashtabula County, sparsely settled. Here they settled on Ohio's Western Reserve, which "provided him with the occupational and social mobility so characteristic of the early nineteenth-century frontier".
Where Giddings lived for most of the rest of his life. Many settlers from New England went there; as the Reserve was famous for its radicalism, Giddings may have been inspired in his first stirrings of passion for antislavery. Giddings first worked on his father's farm and, although he received no systematic education, devoted much time to study and reading. At 17 he joined a militia regiment for the War of 1812, he served including battles against American Indian allies of the British. After 1814 Giddings was a schoolteacher, he married Laura Waters, daughter of a Connecticut emigrant, in 1819. He read law with Elisha Whittlesey in preparation for a career as an attorney, he made some money through land speculation. In February 1821 Giddings was admitted to the bar in Ohio, he soon built up a large practice in criminal cases. From 1831 to 1837 he was in partnership with Benjamin Wade, a future U. S. Senator. Influenced by Theodore Weld, the two formed the local antislavery society. Giddings and his friend Wade were both elected to Congress, where they were outspoken opponents of slavery throughout their careers.
Wade was elected president of the Senate during the Andrew Johnson administration. He would have succeeded to the presidency of the United States had one more senator voted for the impeachment of Andrew Johnson. Giddings was first elected to the Ohio House of Representatives, serving one term from 1826–1827; the Panic of 1837, in which Giddings lost a great deal of money, caused him to cease practicing law. He ran for federal office and was elected to Congress, "with instructions to bring abolition into national focus in any way possible". Re-elected to office, from December 1838 until March 1859, he served as a member of the United States House of Representatives, representing first Ohio's 16th district until 1843, Ohio's 20th district until 1859. Giddings ran first as a Whig as a Free-soiler, next as a candidate of the Opposition Party, as a Republican. For the start of the 1841 session Giddings and some of his colleagues, Seth M. Gates of New York, William Slade of Vermont, Sherlock J. Andrews of Ohio, others, constituted themselves a Select Committee on Slavery, devoted to driving that institution to extinction by any parliamentary and political means, legitimate or otherwise.
Not being an official committee, they met their operating expenses out of their own pockets. The expenses included the board and keep of Theodore Dwight Weld, the prominent Abolitionist lecturer, who researched and helped prepare the speeches by which the members excited public opinion against slavery at every opportunity, their headquarters was in Mrs. Sprigg's boarding-house, directly in front of the Capitol, where Gates, Giddings and the influential abolitionist minister Joshua Leavitt, lived during sessions of Congress. John Quincy Adams of Massachusetts was not a member of the committee. Giddings found an early opportunity to attack slavery when on February 9, 1841, he delivered a speech upon the Seminole War in Florida, insisting that it was waged in the interest of slavery. In the Creole case of 1841, American slaves had revolted and forced the brig Creole into Nassau, where they gained freedom as Britain had abolished slavery in its territories in 1834. Southern slaveholders argued for the federal government to demand the return of the slaves or compensation.
Giddings emphasized that slavery was a state institution, with which the Federal government had no authority to interfere. For that reason, he contended that slavery in the District of Columbia and in the Territories was unlawful and should be abolished, as these were administered by the federal government, he argued that the coastwise slave trade in vessels flying the national flag, like the international slave trade, should be rigidly suppressed as unconstitutional, as the states had no authority to extend slavery to ships on the high seas, the federal government had no separate interest in it. He held that Congress had no power to pass any act that in any way could be construed as a recognition of slavery as a national institution, his statements in the Creole case attracted particular attention, as he had violated the notorious gag rule barring antislavery petitions. Former President John Quincy Adams led a campaign in the House of Representatives to repeal the gag rule; the United States government attempted to recover the slaves from
Zachary Taylor was the 12th president of the United States, serving from March 1849 until his death in July 1850. Taylor was a career officer in the United States Army, rose to the rank of major general and became a national hero as a result of his victories in the Mexican–American War; as a result, he won election to the White House despite his vague political beliefs. His top priority as president was preserving the Union, but he died sixteen months into his term, before making any progress on the status of slavery, inflaming tensions in Congress. Taylor was born into a prominent family of plantation owners who moved westward from Virginia to Kentucky in his youth, he was commissioned as an officer in the U. S. Army in 1808 and made a name for himself as a Captain in the War of 1812, he climbed the ranks establishing military forts along the Mississippi River and entered the Black Hawk War as a Colonel in 1832. His success in the Second Seminole War attracted national attention and earned him the nickname "Old Rough and Ready".
In 1845, during the annexation of Texas, President James K. Polk dispatched Taylor to the Rio Grande in anticipation of a battle with Mexico over the disputed Texas–Mexico border; the Mexican–American War broke out in April 1846, Taylor defeated Mexican troops commanded by General Mariano Arista at the battles of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma and drove his troops out of Texas. Taylor led his troops into Mexico, where they defeated Mexican troops commanded by Pedro de Ampudia at the Battle of Monterrey. Defying orders, Taylor led his troops further south and, despite being outnumbered, dealt a crushing blow to Mexican forces under Antonio López de Santa Anna at the Battle of Buena Vista. Taylor's troops were transferred to the command of Major General Winfield Scott, but Taylor retained his popularity; the Whig Party convinced the reluctant Taylor to lead their ticket in the 1848 presidential election, despite his unclear political tenets and lack of interest in politics. At the 1848 Whig National Convention, Taylor defeated Scott and former Senator Henry Clay to take the nomination.
He won the general election alongside New York politician Millard Fillmore, defeating Democratic Party candidates Lewis Cass and William Orlando Butler, as well as a third-party effort led by former president Martin Van Buren and Charles Francis Adams, Sr. of the Free Soil Party. Taylor became the first president to be elected without having served in a prior political office; as president, Taylor kept his distance from Congress and his cabinet though partisan tensions threatened to divide the Union. Debate over the status of slavery in the Mexican Cession dominated the political agenda and led to threats of secession from Southerners. Despite being a Southerner and a slaveholder himself, Taylor did not push for the expansion of slavery, sought sectional harmony above all other concerns. To avoid the issue of slavery, he urged settlers in New Mexico and California to bypass the territorial stage and draft constitutions for statehood, setting the stage for the Compromise of 1850. Taylor died of a stomach-related illness in July 1850, with his administration having accomplished little aside from the ratification of the Clayton–Bulwer Treaty.
Fillmore served the remainder of his term. Historians and scholars have ranked Taylor in the bottom quartile of U. S. presidents, owing in part to his short term of office, he has been described as "more a forgettable president than a failed one." Zachary Taylor was born on November 24, 1784, on a plantation in Orange County, Virginia, to a prominent family of planters of English ancestry. His birthplace may have been Hare Forest Farm, the home of his maternal grandfather William Strother, though this has not been determined with certainty, he had three younger sisters. His mother was Sarah Dabney Taylor, his father, Richard Taylor, had served as a lieutenant colonel in the American Revolution. Taylor was a descendant of Elder William Brewster, a Pilgrim leader of the Plymouth Colony, a Mayflower immigrant, a signer of the Mayflower Compact. Taylor's second cousin through that line was the fourth president, his family forsook their exhausted Virginia land, joined the westward migration and settled near future Louisville, Kentucky, on the Ohio River.
Taylor grew up in a small woodland cabin until, with increased prosperity, his family moved to a brick house. The rapid growth of Louisville was a boon for Taylor's father, who by the start of the 19th century had acquired 10,000 acres throughout Kentucky, as well as 26 slaves to cultivate the most developed portion of his holdings. Taylor's formal education was sporadic because Kentucky's education system was just taking shape during his formative years, his mother taught him to read and write, he attended a school operated by Elisha Ayer, a teacher from Connecticut. He attended a Middletown, Kentucky academy run by Kean O'Hara, a classically trained scholar from Ireland, the father of Theodore O'Hara. Ayer recalled Taylor as a patient and quick learner, but his early letters showed a weak grasp of spelling and grammar, as well as poor handwriting. All improved over time. In June 1810, Taylor married Margaret Mackall Smith, whom he had met the previous autumn in Louisville. "Peggy" Smith came from a prominent family of Maryland planters—she was the daughter of Major Walter Smith, who had served in the Revolutionary War.
The couple had six children: Ann Mackall Taylor
North Carolina's 8th congressional district
North Carolina's eighth congressional district comprises a large portion of the southern Piedmont area of North Carolina from Concord to Spring Lake, including China Grove, Troy and Raeford. The district includes all of Cabarrus, Moore and Stanly counties, as well as portions of Rowan and Cumberland counties; the district is represented by Richard Hudson, a member of the Republican Party. He won the seat in 2012 after defeating two-term Democratic incumbent Larry Kissell. North Carolina's congressional districts List of United States congressional districts NY Times 2010 Election Profile Martis, Kenneth C.. The Historical Atlas of Political Parties in the United States Congress. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company. Martis, Kenneth C.. The Historical Atlas of United States Congressional Districts. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company. Congressional Biographical Directory of the United States 1774–present
Slavery in the United States
Slavery in the United States was the legal institution of human chattel enslavement of Africans and African Americans, that existed in the United States of America in the 18th and 19th centuries. Slavery had been practiced in British America from early colonial days, was legal in all Thirteen Colonies at the time of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, it lasted in about half the states until 1865, when it was prohibited nationally by the Thirteenth Amendment. As an economic system, slavery was replaced by sharecropping. By the time of the American Revolution, the status of slave had been institutionalized as a racial caste associated with African ancestry; when the United States Constitution was ratified in 1789, a small number of free people of color were among the voting citizens. During and following the Revolutionary War, abolitionist laws were passed in most Northern states and a movement developed to abolish slavery. Northern states depended on free labor and all had abolished slavery by 1805.
The rapid expansion of the cotton industry in the Deep South after the invention of the cotton gin increased demand for slave labor to pick cotton when it all ripened at once, the Southern states continued as slave societies. Those states attempted to extend slavery into the new Western territories to keep their share of political power in the nation. Southern leaders wanted to annex Cuba as a slave territory; the United States became polarized over the issue of slavery, split into slave and free states, in effect divided by the Mason–Dixon line which delineated Pennsylvania from Maryland and Delaware. During the Jefferson administration, Congress prohibited the importation of slaves, effective 1808, although smuggling via Spanish Florida was not unusual. Domestic slave trading, continued at a rapid pace, driven by labor demands from the development of cotton plantations in the Deep South. More than one million slaves were sold from the Upper South, which had a surplus of labor, taken to the Deep South in a forced migration, splitting up many families.
New communities of African-American culture were developed in the Deep South, the total slave population in the South reached 4 million before liberation. As the West was developed for settlement, the Southern state governments wanted to keep a balance between the number of slave and free states to maintain a political balance of power in Congress; the new territories acquired from Britain and Mexico were the subject of major political compromises. By 1850, the newly rich cotton-growing South was threatening to secede from the Union, tensions continued to rise. Many white Southern Christians, including church ministers, attempted to justify their support for slavery as modified by Christian paternalism; the largest denominations—the Baptist and Presbyterian churches—split over the slavery issue into regional organizations of the North and South. When Abraham Lincoln won the 1860 election on a platform of halting the expansion of slavery, seven states broke away to form the Confederacy; the first six states to secede held the greatest number of slaves in the South.
Shortly after, the Civil War began. Four additional slave states seceded after Lincoln requested arms in order to make a retaliatory strike. Due to Union measures such as the Confiscation Acts and Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, the war ended slavery before ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment in December 1865 formally ended the legal institution throughout the United States. Africans first came to the New World with Christopher Columbus in 1492. Juan Las Canaries was a crewman on the Santa Maria. Not much longer after, the first enslavement occurred in what would be the United States. In 1508, Ponce de Leon established the first settlement near present-day San Juan and began enslaving the indigenous Tainos. In 1513, to supplement the dwindling Tainos population, the first African slaves were imported to Puerto Rico; the first African slaves within the continental United States arrived via Santo Domingo to the San Miguel de Gualdape colony, founded by Spanish explorer Lucas Vázquez de Ayllón in 1526.
The ill-fated colony was immediately disrupted by a fight over leadership, during which the slaves revolted and fled the colony to seek refuge among local Native Americans. De Ayllón and many of the colonists died shortly afterwards of an epidemic and the colony was abandoned; the settlers and the slaves who had not escaped returned to Haiti, whence. On August 28, 1565, St. Augustine, Florida was founded by the Spanish conquistador Don Pedro Menendez de Aviles and he brought three African slaves with him. During the 16th and 17th centuries, St. Augustine was the hub of the slave trade in Spanish colonial Florida and the first permanent settlement in the continental United States to include African slaves.60 years in the early years of the Chesapeake Bay settlements, colonial officials found it difficult to attract and retain laborers under the harsh frontier conditions, there was a high mortality rate. Most laborers came from Britain as indentured laborers, signing contracts of indenture to pay with work for their passage, their upkeep and training on a farm.
The colonies had agricultural economies. These indentured laborers were young people who intended to become permanent residents. In some cases, convicted criminals were transported to the colonies as indentured laborers, rather than being imprisoned; the indentured laborers were not slaves, but were required to work
The Mexican Cession is the region in the modern-day southwestern United States that Mexico ceded to the U. S. in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848 after the Mexican–American War. This region had not been part of the areas east of the Rio Grande, claimed by the Republic of Texas, though the Texas annexation resolution two years earlier had not specified the southern and western boundary of the new State of Texas; the Mexican Cession was the third largest acquisition of territory in US history. The largest was the Louisiana Purchase, with some 827,000 sq. miles, followed by the acquisition of Alaska. Most of the area had been the Mexican territory of Alta California, while a southeastern strip on the Rio Grande had been part of Santa Fe de Nuevo Mexico, most of whose area and population were east of the Rio Grande on land, claimed by the Republic of Texas since 1835, but never controlled or approached aside from the Texan Santa Fe Expedition. Mexico controlled the territory known as the Mexican Cession, with considerable local autonomy punctuated by several revolts and few troops sent from central Mexico, in the period from 1821–22 after independence from Spain up through 1846 when U.
S. military forces seized control of California and New Mexico on the outbreak of the Mexican–American War. The northern boundary of the 42nd parallel north was set by the Adams–Onís Treaty signed by the United States and Spain in 1821 and ratified by Mexico in 1831 in the Treaty of Limits; the eastern boundary of the Mexican Cession was the Texas claim at the Rio Grande and extending north from the headwaters of the Rio Grande, not corresponding to Mexican territorial boundaries. The southern boundary was set by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which followed the Mexican boundaries between Alta California and Baja California and Sonora; the United States paid Mexico $15 million for the land. Alta California and Santa Fe de Nuevo Mexico were captured soon after the start of the war and the last resistance there was subdued in January 1847, but Mexico would not accept the loss of territory. Therefore, during 1847, troops from the United States invaded central Mexico and occupied the Mexican capital of Mexico City, but still no Mexican government was willing to ratify transfer of the northern territories to the U.
S. It was uncertain. There was an All of Mexico Movement proposing complete annexation of Mexico among Eastern Democrats, but opposed by Southerners like John C. Calhoun who wanted additional territory for their crops but not the large population of central Mexico. Nicholas Trist forced the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, explicitly redefining the border between Mexico and the United States in early 1848 after President Polk had attempted to recall him from Mexico as a failure. Although Mexico did not overtly cede any land under the treaty, the redefined border had the effect of transferring Alta California and Santa Fe de Nuevo Mexico to the control of the United States. Important, the new border acknowledged Mexico's loss of Texas, both the core eastern portion and the western claims, neither of, formally recognized by Mexico until that time; the U. S. Senate approved the treaty, rejecting amendments from both Jefferson Davis to annex most of northeastern Mexico and Daniel Webster not to take Alta California and Santa Fe de Nuevo Mexico.
The United States paid $15,000,000 for the land, agreed to assume $3.25 million in debts to US citizens. While technically the territory was purchased by the United States, the $15 million payment was credited against Mexico's debt to the U. S. at that time. The Mexican Cession as ordinarily understood amounted to 525,000 square miles, or 14.9% of the total area of the current United States. If the disputed western Texas claims are included, that amounts to a total of 750,000 square miles. If all of Texas had been seized, since Mexico had not acknowledged the loss of any part of Texas, the total area ceded under this treaty comes to 915,000 square miles. Considering the seizures, including all of Texas, Mexico lost 54% of its pre-1836 territory in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. For only fifteen years from 1821 and the Texan Revolt in 1836, the Mexican Cession formed 42% of the country of Mexico. Beginning in the early seventeenth century, a chain of Roman Catholic missions and settlements extended into the New Mexico region following the course of the Rio Grande from the El Paso area to Santa Fe.
Soon after the war started and long before negotiation of the new Mexico–United States border, the question of slavery in the territories to be acquired polarized the Northern and Southern United States in the bitterest sectional conflict up to this time, which lasted for a deadlock of four years during which the Second Party System broke up, Mormon pioneers settled Utah, the California Gold Rush settled California, New Mexico under a federal military U. S government turned back Texas's attempt to assert control over territory Texas claimed as far west as the Rio Grande; the Compromise of 1850 preserved the Union, but only for another decade. Proposals included: The Wilmot Proviso, created by Congressman David Wilmot, banning slavery in any new territory to be acquired from Mexico, no
1850 United States House of Representatives elections
Elections to the United States House of Representatives for the 32nd Congress were held at various dates in different states from August 1850 to November 1851. The Democrats gained 17 seats, increasing their majority relative to the rival Whigs, who lost 22 seats. Whig President Millard Fillmore, who succeeded to the Presidency in July 1850 after the death of Zachary Taylor, lacked a strong political base. Sectionalism and slavery were prominent, but not yet politically critical, issues; the Compromise of 1850 was a short-term success in beginning the constructive disposal of the Mexican Cession, but the admission of California as the 31st state augured a future free-soil West. Lingering Southern unhappiness with the results of the Compromise and a sense of foreboding helped motivate sectional and political conflict over Kansas; the Unionist Party, formed in support of the Compromise of 1850, gained 10 seats in the South, as did the States' Rights Party. The abolitionist Free Soil Party lost five seats and was reduced to four Representatives, all in New England.
One district in Massachusetts had been vacant in the 31st Congress. No new seats were added; the previous election had 1 Know-Nothing and 1 Independent United States elections, 1850 List of United States House of Representatives elections, 1824–54 United States Senate elections, 1850 and 1851 31st United States Congress 32nd United States Congress Dubin, Michael J.. United States Congressional Elections, 1788-1997: The Official Results of the Elections of the 1st Through 105th Congresses. McFarland and Company. ISBN 978-0786402830. Martis, Kenneth C.. The Historical Atlas of Political Parties in the United States Congress, 1789-1989. Macmillan Publishing Company. ISBN 978-0029201701. Moore, John L. ed.. Congressional Quarterly's Guide to U. S. Elections. Congressional Quarterly Inc. ISBN 978-0871879967. "Party Divisions of the House of Representatives* 1789–Present". Office of the Historian, House of United States House of Representatives. Retrieved January 21, 2015. Office of the Historian