Confederate States presidential election, 1861

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Confederate States presidential election, 1861

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

Presidential Election 1861. Gray shows states won by Davis/Stephens. Numbers are Electoral College votes in each state.

President before election

Jefferson Davis (Provisional)

Elected President

Jefferson Davis

The Confederate States presidential election of 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 Confederate States Constitution, were elected to six-year terms (February 22, 1862 – February 22, 1868) as the first permanent President and Vice President of the Confederate States of America.


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 Provisions

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 election


Davis and Stephens ran without opposition.


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
Running mate
Count Percentage Vice-presidential candidate Home state Electoral vote(b)
Jefferson Davis Democrat 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

The Electoral College consisted of 109 electors.[4] The electors (chosen in the November 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]

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

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

(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

Key dates in election

Election No. Presidential Election Electoral College Vote Electoral Vote tabulated
by a Joint Session of Congress
1 November 6, 1861 December 4, 1861 February 19, 1862 February 22, 1862

Official sources

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

Campaign memorabilia


  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. 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
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