Early years and political rise
Even as a small boy came Alvin Hawkins with his parents to Tennessee. He attended Bethel College and studied law, like many other future governors. In 1843 he was admitted to the bar. In 1845 he undertook for the Whig Party a first unsuccessful attempt, to be elected to the House of Representatives from Tennessee. In the election of 1853, he was successful and moved into Parliament. During the presidential election campaign in 1860 he supported John Bell, the candidate of the Constitutional Union Party. He then moved over to the Republicans. During the Civil War he sided with the Union.
In 1862 he was in the Congress in Washington, D.C. chosen, but could not take his seat because of the chaotic political situation in Tennessee. In 1864 he supported Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson in the presidential elections. 1864 and 1865 he was a federal prosecutor in the western part of Tennessee, which was occupied at the time by Union troops. From 1865 to 1868, he was a judge on the Tennessee Supreme Court; 1869-1870 he served as American consul in Havana, Cuba.
Governor of Tennessee
In 1880, the Republican candidate for the office of governor of Tennessee. Because the Democrats were at odds over the issue of government debt, he managed to win. Hawkins brought a bill to reduce government debt on the way, which was however rejected by the Supreme Court of the State as unconstitutional. Thus also failed Hawkins, like its two predecessors, to this problem. For the elections of 1882, he sought to re-election, but lost his opposing candidate William B. Bate.
After leaving office, he became a lawyer again and dealt with ecclesiastical matters his Methodist church in Huntingdon. He died in April 1905. Alvin Hawkins was married to Justina Ott, with whom he had two children.