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[17] an election was held for the selection of chief executive officers. Mr. Jefferson Davis, of Mississippi, was elected president, and Mr. Alexander H. Stephens, of Georgia, vice-president.

In assuming the grave responsibility of the laborious work of chief executive of the provisional government, Mr. Davis was sustained by the consciousness that the South was justified by the absence of wrong-doing on her part and by the wanton aggression on the part of the North. His farewell speech before the United States Senate possesses especial significance and historical interest. He said, ‘If I had not believed there was justifiable cause, if I had thought Mississippi was acting without provocation, I should still have been bound by her action.’ While many of our prominent leaders believed that our right to secede would not be questioned Mr. Davis felt assured that the North would not let the South go; that she would endeavor to enforce by the sword the obligations that she had broken in the political conditions of peace. In entering upon his new duties, as soldier and war minister he knew what war meant and was satisfied that the South could achieve her independence only through a long and sanguinary conflict. Thus wisely forecasting results he could not be an ardent, uncompromising secessionist until assured that the honor, the right, the freedom and the interests of the South could no longer be defended within the Union.

The first and second sessions of the provisional government were held in Montgomery, Ala., from February 4, 1861, to May 21, 1861; the third, fourth and fifth at Richmond, Va., from July 20 to November 18, 1861. On the 19th of February, 1862, a permanent organization of the Confederate States was effected, the electoral vote for president and vice-president cast by the several States being 109. The entire vote was cast for Jefferson Davis, of Mississippi, for the office of president, and for Alexander Stephens, of Georgia, for vice-president.

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