About this Collection
The papers of Alexander Hamilton Stephens (1812-1883), lawyer, journalist, governor of Georgia, member of both houses of the United States Congress, and vice president of the Confederate States of America, span the years 1784-1886, with the bulk of the material concentrated in the period 1850-1883. The collection consists primarily of correspondence, supplemented by an autobiography and journal and miscellaneous memoranda, legal documents, and clippings. The papers are organized in three series: General Correspondence, Letters from Servants, and Autobiography and Journal.
The correspondence, mainly letters received, touches on virtually all aspects of Stephens’s private and public life, focusing on the divisive issues leading to the Civil War, the operation of the Confederate government, and postwar problems and issues in the South. Specific topics discussed include plantation management, slavery, Texas annexation, territorial expansion, political parties, states’ rights, the compromise of 1850, the Kansas-Nebraska Act, the Dred Scott decision, secession, formation of the Confederate government, the conduct of the Civil War, Reconstruction in the South, and the disputed election of 1876. Broader subjects include transportation, the tariff, education, and social, economic, and literary matters.
Prominent correspondents include Francis Preston Blair (1791-1876), Joseph E. Brown, Fitzwilliam Byrdsall, Henry Cleveland, Howell Cobb, Martin Crawford, A. H. Garland, John. B. Gordon, Paul Hamilton Hayne, William H. Hidell, Henry R. Jackson, Herschel V. Johnson, Richard Malcolm Johnson, L. Q. C. Lamar, James Ryder Randall, J. Henley Smith, Robert Augustus Toombs, James Iredell Waddell, and Ambrose R. Wright.