Causes of the Civil War
Alexander Stephens in Causes of the Civil War
Alexander Stephens (1812-1883) was a politician who served in the Georgia legislature and the U.S. House of Representatives before The American Civil War. Throughout his career, Stephens defended slavery but opposed disunion, favoring sectional compromises instead. When his home state of Georgia voted in 1861 to secede from the Union, Stephens reluctantly followed. His fellow southern leaders chose him to serve as vice president of the Confederacy throughout the Civil War.
In March 1861, the newly appointed vice president delivered his "Cornerstone" speech. The "cornerstone" of the Confederacy, Stephens announced, was "the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man, that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and normal condition."3