Wednesday, February 09, 2011

February 9, 1861: The Confederate President

On Saturday, February 9, 1861, Jefferson Davis of Mississippi was elected provisional president of the Confederate States of America.  Alexander Stephens of Georgia was elected vice president.

There were no nominating conventions and no popular vote.  The executive officers of the Confederacy were chosen in the proverbial smoke-filled rooms by the 38 delegates to the convention of seceded states.  The votes were cast by states; each delegation cast one vote.

By unspoken agreement the delegates shied away from the radical fire-eaters who had done so much to drive the Deep South states out of the Union.  They wanted to show the border states and the world that this was a nation of moderate men who had no choice but to leave the Union and form their own government.

In Tennessee, voters rejected a proposal to call a state convention to consider secession.  The proposal was defeated by a vote of 68,282 to 59,449, with most of the pro-Union vote coming from the mountainous eastern part of the state.

At Pensacola, Florida, the U.S.S. Brooklyn arrived with supplies and reinforcements for Fort Pickens.  These were not landed; the federal government and the State of Florida had reached an agreement that no changes would be made on either side.

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