John Breckinridge

Attorney General of the United States, 1805-1806
John C. Breckinridge served as United States senator, vice president of the United States, and Secretary of War for the Confederacy. Breckinridge was born on January 16, 1821 near Lexington, Kentucky, and studied law at Transylvania University. He began his political career as a state representative before serving in the US Congress from 1851 to 1855. In 1856, he was elected as the 14th vice president of the United States, alongside President James Buchanan. In 1860, Breckinridge ran for president as part of the Southern faction of the Democratic Party. He ultimately finished third in the popular vote behind Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas. Despite this loss, he was appointed to the US Senate by the Kentucky legislature in March 1861. In January 1865, Breckinridge became the fifth and final secretary of war for the Confederacy. When General Robert E. Lee surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant, Breckinridge fled to Cuba to avoid capture by the Union Army, and then proceeded to the United Kingdom and Canada. Breckinridge would remain in exile until 1869, when a presidential pardon allowed him to return to the United States. He settled in Lexington, Kentucky, where he remained until his death 1875.


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