Open main menu

The Confederate States presidential election of November 6, 1861 was the only presidential election held under the Permanent Constitution of the Confederate States of America. Jefferson Davis, who had been elected president and Alexander H. Stephens, who had been elected vice president, under the Provisional Constitution, were elected to six-year terms (February 22, 1862 – February 22, 1868) as the Confederate States' first permanent president and vice president.

Confederate States presidential election

November 6, 1861
  President Davis.jpg
Nominee Jefferson Davis
Party Nonpartisan
Home state Mississippi
Running mate Alexander H. Stephens
Electoral vote 109
States carried 11
Popular vote 47,057
Percentage 97.0%

ElectoralCollege1861.svg
Presidential election results map. Green denotes states won by Davis/Stephens. Numbers indicate the number of electoral votes allotted to each state.

President before election

Jefferson Davis (Provisional)
Nonpartisan

Elected President

Jefferson Davis
Nonpartisan

Contents

BackgroundEdit

The Provisional Confederate States Congress met at Montgomery, Alabama, on February 4, 1861. A provisional constitution was adopted on February 8, 1861.

On February 9, 1861, Jefferson Davis was elected Provisional President and Alexander H. Stephens was elected Provisional Vice President. Stephens took office on February 11 and Davis took office on February 18, 1861. On March 11, 1861, a permanent Constitution was adopted.[1]

Constitutional ProvisionsEdit

Article II Section 1(1) reads: "The executive power shall be vested in a President of the Confederate States of America. He and the Vice President shall hold their offices for the term of six years; but the President shall not be re-eligible."[2]

Article II Section 1(7) of the Confederate Constitution provides citizenship to people "born in the United States prior to the 20th of December, 1860" and also requires candidates for the President of the Confederacy to have resided "within the limits of the Confederate States" for 14 years.[2]

Article VII Section 1(2) includes instructions for electing permanent officials after the ratification of the Confederate Constitution:

When five states shall have ratified this Constitution, in the manner before specified, the Congress under the Provisional Constitution, shall prescribe the time for holding the election of President and Vice President; and, for the meeting of the Electoral College; and, for counting the votes, and inaugurating the President.[2]

General electionEdit

CampaignEdit

Davis and Stephens ran without opposition.

ResultsEdit

The election simply confirmed the decision that had been made by the Provisional Confederate Congress earlier in the year. Davis remained president until May 5, 1865, when the Confederate government was officially dissolved.[3]

Presidential candidate Party Home state Popular vote(a) Electoral
vote(b)
Running mate
Count Percentage Vice-presidential candidate Home state Electoral vote(b)
Jefferson Davis Nonpartisan Mississippi 47,057 97.0% 109 Alexander H. Stephens Georgia 109
Other 1,465 3.0% Other
Total 48,522 100% 109 109
Needed to win 55 55

Source (Popular Vote): CSA President - Popular Vote. Our Campaigns. (August 30, 2012).
Source (Electoral Vote): CSA President. Our Campaigns. (August 30, 2012).

Popular vote
Davis
97.0%
Others
3.0%
Electoral vote
Davis
100.0%

(a) Totals reflect the popular vote in North Carolina only.
(b) Missouri and Kentucky did not participate in this election. Missouri was admitted November 28, 1861 and Kentucky December 10, 1861.

Electoral CollegeEdit

 
Virginia election ballot, November 6, 1861

The Confederate States Electoral College was the institution that elected the president (Jefferson Davis) and vice president (Alexander H. Stephens) for a six-year term.

The president and vice president were not elected directly by the voters. Instead, they were elected by electors who were chosen by popular vote on a state-by-state basis. This system was established by the Confederate States Constitution, in emulation of the United States Constitution. Like the U.S. Constitution, the Confederate Constitution provided that each state would have a number of electors "equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress" (Article II, Section 1).

The Electoral College consisted of 109 electors.[4] The electors (chosen in the November 6 elections) met in their respective states to cast their votes on December 4, 1861 (Confederate law mandated that electors meet on the first Wednesday in December). The Congress met in joint session on February 19, 1862 and certified the result.[5]

Key datesEdit

Presidential election Electoral College vote Electoral vote tabulated
by a joint session of Congress
Inauguration
November 6, 1861 December 4, 1861 February 19, 1862 February 22, 1862

Official sourcesEdit

Journal of the Congress of the Confederate States of America, 1861-1865 [Volume 5], Journal of the House of Representatives of the First Congress of the Confederate States of America, Second Day—Wednesday, February 19, 1862, page 12 and page 13

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Hart, William Octave (1916). The Democratic conventions of 1908, 1912, 1916: Republican conventions of 1912, 1916, and Progressive Convention of 1912, with other political and historical observations. Princeton University.
  2. ^ a b c "Constitution of the Confederate States of America". Wikisource. Retrieved 3 July 2013.
  3. ^ "Jefferson Davis elected president of the Confederacy". This Day in History. History Channel. Archived from the original on 28 August 2013. Retrieved 3 July 2013.
  4. ^ Library of Congress
  5. ^ The Statutes at Large of the Provisional Government of the Confederate States of America, from the Institution of the Government, February 8, 1861, to its Termination, February 18, 1862, Inclusive