The Confederate States of America was a collection of 11 states that seceded from the United States in 1860 following the election of President Abraham Lincoln. Led by Jefferson Davis and existing from 1861 to 1865, the Confederacy struggled for legitimacy and was never recognized as a sovereign nation. After suffering a crushing defeat in the Civil War, the Confederate States of America ceased to exist.
The election of Abraham Lincoln was labeled an act of war by some Southern politicians, who predicted armies would come to seize slaves and force white women to marry black men. Secession meetings and assemblies started to appear across the South. As secession began to seem more likely, so did war. Altercations with Union troops at Fort Sumter, South Carolina, and Fort Pickens, Florida, escalated. Southern politicians began to procure weaponry, and some secessionists even proposed kidnapping Lincoln.
By February 1861, seven Southern states had seceded. On February 4 of that year, representatives from South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia and Louisiana met in Montgomery, Alabama, with representatives from Texas arriving later, to form the Confederate States of America.
Former secretary of war, military man and then-Mississippi Senator Jefferson Davis was elected Confederate president. Ex-Georgia governor, congressman, and former anti-secessionist Alexander H. Stephens became vice-president of the Confederate States of America.