He represented the state in both houses of Congress and in 1857, became the 14th and youngest-ever Vice President of the United States (1857–1861). As James Buchanan’s vice president, John C. Breckinridge had a front row seat to witness the nation’s growing political division over the expansion of slavery. Breckinridge ultimately finished third in the popular vote behind Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas. During this time Breckinridge established himself as a leading Southern politician, known for his eloquent speeches on the House floor. He served as Vice-President from 1857 to 1861, under President James Buchanan. The Illinois senator pointed out that, while not all of Breckinridge's followers were secessionists, every secessionist was supporting him. He died in 1875 at the age of 54. John C. Breckinridge was James Buchanan's Vice President from 1857 to 1861. John Cabell Breckinridge (January 16, 1821 – May 17, 1875) was a lawyer, U.S. Representative, U.S. The platform is quite similar to the platform of the Douglas Democrats, including the… Senator from Kentucky and was the 14th Vice President of the United States (1857–1861), to date the youngest vice president in U.S. history, elected at age 35 and inaugurated at age 36.. When Douglas withdrew as a gesture toward party unity, the nomination went to Buchanan. Senator from Kentucky and the Vice President of the United States. Despite his efforts, pro-Union forces won the state legislative elections. Breckinridge fled behind Confederate lines. The platform is quite similar to the platform of the Douglas Democrats, including the… Early in 1859 a New York Times correspondent in Washington wrote that "Vice President Breckinridge stands deservedly high in public estimation, and has the character of a man slow to form resolves, but unceasing and inexorable in their fulfillment." Privacy Policy   |   He returned east to the battle of Cold Harbor, and in July 1864 he and General Jubal T. Early led a dramatic raid on Washington, D.C. Breckinridge's troops advanced as far as Silver Spring, Maryland, where they sacked Francis Blair's home but did not destroy it, supposedly at the urging of Breckinridge, who had often been a guest there. An imposing and tactful man, he was exceptional for evoking both loyal devotion from his followers and generous respect from his opponents during a strife-torn era. After officially joining the Democrat party in 1843, John C. Breckinridgegot involved in political activities including campaigning for presidential nominee James K. Polk in 1844 campaign. Breckinridge faced a campaign against three old friends: Stephen Douglas, the Democratic candidate; Abraham Lincoln, the Republican; and John Bell of Tennessee, the Constitutional Union party candidate. Despite this loss, he was appointed to the U.S. Senate by the Kentucky legislature in March 1861. He represented Kentucky in both houses of Congress and became the 14th and youngest-ever Vice President of the United States, serving from 1857 to 1861. His friends reported his resentment to Buchanan, and in short order three of the president's confidants wrote to tell Breckinridge that it had been a mistake. Please join us in our mission to incorporate The Congressional Evolution of the United States of America discovery-based curriculum into the classroom of every primary and secondary school in the United States of … John Breckinridge (December 2, 1760 – December 14, 1806) was a lawyer and politician from the U.S. state of Virginia. John C. Breckinridge : biography January 16, 1821 – May 17, 1875 Political career Breckinridge campaigned for Democratic presidential nominee James K. Polk during the 1844 campaign.Davis, p. 30 He decided against running for county clerk of Scott County after his law partner complained that he spent too much time in politics.Davis, p. 31 Some […] In February, Vice President Breckinridge led a procession of senators to the House chamber to count the electoral votes, and to announce the election of Abraham Lincoln of Illinois. Annotation: John C. Breckinridge served as President Buchanan’s vice president. After serving in the Massachusetts State Senate and the U.S. ...read more, John Brown was a leading figure in the abolitionist movement in the pre-Civil War United States. South Carolina Representative Lawrence Keitt repeatedly denigrated Kentucky's compromising tendencies. John Cabell Breckinridge (January 16, 1821 – May 17, 1875) was an American lawyer, politician, and soldier. Questions about Senate History? The New Yorker objected that he had never handled a western rifle and that as the challenged party he should pick the weapons. He trusted that in the future "another Senate, in another age, shall bear to a new and larger Chamber, this Constitution vigorous and inviolate, and that the last generation of posterity shall witness the deliberations of the Representatives of American States, still united, prosperous, and free." Background. Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. (1821–75). Lane had spent his youth in Kentucky and Indiana and served in the Mexican War. Breckinridge may also have been harboring even greater ambitions. We have suffered under it for thirty years, and will stand it no more." He recalled the legislative labors of Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, and John C. Calhoun, whose performance in that chamber challenged their successors "to give the Union a destiny not unworthy of the past." Created / Published But in December, South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida left the Union. When these discussions fell through, Breckinridge helped Jefferson Davis make his way through the Deep South to avoid capture. The only vice president ever to take up arms against the government of the United States, John Cabell Breckinridge completed four years as vice president under James Buchanan, ran for president as the Southern Democratic candidate in 1860, and then returned to the Senate to lead the remnants of the Democratic party for the first congressional session during the Civil War. Forney recalled how the young Breckinridge spoke with great respect about Texas Senator Sam Houston, who denounced the dangers and evils of slavery. In the upper left is Southern Democrat John C. Breckinridge. As the Democratic convention approached in 1856, the three leading contenders—President Pierce, Senator Douglas, and former Minister to Great Britain James Buchanan—all courted Breckinridge. Although he wanted the Union restored, he preferred a peaceful separation rather than "endless, aimless, devastating war, at the end of which I see the grave of public liberty and of personal freedom." Historian James C. Klotter has speculated that, had John C. Breckinridge's father, Cabell, lived, he would have steered his son to the Whig Party and the Union, rather than the Democratic Party and the Confederacy, but the Kentucky Secretary of State and former Speaker of the Kentucky House of Representatives died of a fever on September 1, 1823, months before his son's third birthday. Denouncing the antislavery policies of the Republicans and Know-Nothings, Breckinridge described himself not as proslavery but as a defender of the people's constitutional right to make their own territorial laws, a position that caused some Deep South extremists to accuse him of harboring abolitionist views. John Cabell Breckinridge was born in Lexington, Kentucky, on January 16, 1821. He became increasingly convinced that the South's cause was lost and, as the end of the war drew near, he met with Union general William T. Sherman to discuss surrender terms. They suspected that he held private concerns about the morality of slavery and that he supported gradual emancipation. Only 35 at the time of his election, Breckinridge was the youngest vice president in American history. Viewing Breckinridge as part of the Pierce-Douglas faction, Buchanan almost never consulted him, and rarely invited him to the White House for either political or social gatherings. Then a Louisiana delegate nominated Breckinridge. Despite his weakened condition at the end, Breckinridge surprised his doctor with his clear and strong voice. On December 4, 1861, the Senate by a 36 to 0 vote expelled the Kentucky senator, declaring that Breckinridge, "the traitor," had "joined the enemies of his country.". Usage Policy   |   He also rejected President Pierce's nomination to serve as minister to Spain and negotiate American annexation of Cuba, despite the Senate's confirmation of his appointment. He received no answer. When the Democratic Party split over the issue in the summer of 1860, Breckinridge emerged as the presidential nominee of the pro-slavery Southern Democrats. He then attended Princeton before returning to Lexington to study law at Transylvania University. "use strict";(function(){var insertion=document.getElementById("citation-access-date");var date=new Date().toLocaleDateString(undefined,{month:"long",day:"numeric",year:"numeric"});insertion.parentElement.replaceChild(document.createTextNode(date),insertion)})(); FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. John C. Breckinridge (1821-1875) was a politician who served as the 14th vice president of the United States and as a Confederate general during the Civil War (1861-65). John C. Breckinridge, a former U.S. senator and representative from Kentucky with ties to Douglas, received the vice presidential nomination. John C. Breckinridge helped in the formulation and adopting ne… During the battle his unit spearheaded attacks on the Union left flank and sustained roughly 30 percent casualties. Democratic Party Platform (Breckinridge Faction) of 1860. Across the river they could see the red stripes of the American flag, which Breckinridge viewed nostalgically but the more embittered Davis described as "the gridiron we have been fried on. Instead, the race ended Lane's political career entirely, and Oregon became a Republican state. For national balance, the breakaway Democrats selected Senator Joseph Lane, a Democrat from Oregon, for vice president. After forces in his department won a small battle near Saltville, Virginia, in October 1864, some of Breckinridge’s troops murdered roughly 150 black troops during the Union retreat. Within months of this exchange, Senator Baker was killed while leading his militia at the Battle of Ball's Bluff along the Potomac River, and Senator Breckinridge was wearing the gray uniform of a Confederate officer. A native of Kentucky, Breckinridge began his political career as a state representative before serving in the U.S. Congress from 1851-1855. "This has been a magnificent epic," he said; "in God's name let it not terminate in farce." The Pennsylvania newspaper publisher and political adventurer John W. Forney insisted that when Breckinridge came to Congress "he was in no sense an extremist." All Rights Reserved. John C. Breckinridge (1821-1875) was a politician who served as the 14th vice president of the United States and as a Confederate general during the Civil War (1861-65). In 1851 he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives as a Democrat and served until 1855. Since Breckinridge defended both the Union and slavery, people viewed him as a moderate. In Mexico, Major Breckinridge won the support of his troops for his acts of kindness, being known to give up his horse to sick and footsore soldiers. When another large peace rally was scheduled for September 21, the legislature sent a regiment to break up the meeting and arrest Breckinridge. He performed well in this final government position, firing the Confederacy's bumbling commissary general and trying to bring order out of the chaos, but these efforts came too late. He served as Vice-President from 1857 to 1861, under President James Buchanan. John Cabell Breckenridge was born near Lexington, Kentucky. After making a failed attempt to wrest the city of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, from Union control in August 1862, Breckinridge joined Braxton Bragg’s forces near Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Breckinridge got so close to Washington that he could see the newly completed Capitol dome, and General Early joked that he would allow him to lead the advance into the city so that he could sit in the vice-presidential chair again. Created / Published Created / Published Early in the new administration, when the vice president asked for a private interview with the president, he was told instead to call at the White House some evening and ask to see Buchanan's niece and hostess, Harriet Lane. John Cabell Breckinridge (January 16, 1821 – May 17, 1875) was an American lawyer and politician. Promoted to major general in 1862, Breckinridge fought at the Battles of Stones River and Chickamauga before taking command of Confederate forces in the Shenandoah Valley in 1864. Fearing capture by the Union Army, Breckinridge fled to Cuba at the end of the Civil War and then proceeded to the United Kingdom and Canada. Despite these endorsements and the financial levies that the Buchanan administration made on all Democratic officeholders for him, Breckinridge failed to carry any northern states. Access hundreds of hours of historical video, commercial free, with HISTORY Vault. Did you know? In 1849, while still only twenty-eight years old, he won a seat in the state house of representatives. In 1851, Breckinridge shocked the Whig party by winning the congressional race in Clay's home district, a victory that also brought him to the attention of national Democratic leaders. While he campaigned on a pro-slavery platform—in particular, he demanded federal intervention to protect slaveholders in the territories—he was also vocal in his support of maintaining the Union amid rumblings of Southern secession. Are they not intended for disorganization in our very midst?" Some local Democrats encouraged him to run seek the Eighth District's congressional seat in 1845, but he declined, supporting instead Alexander Keith Marshall, the party's unsuccessful nominee. Breckinridge, "his eyes flashing fire," interrupted Cutting's speech, denied his charges, denounced his language, and demanded an apology. Breckinridge was elected the 14th vice president of the United States in 1856, and then mounted an unsuccessful presidential bid in 1860. Breckinridge was elected vice president, having the singular distinction of being the youngest vice president in the history of the Unite… John Bell By Patrick Eakin In 1860 the Constitutional Union Party nominated John Bell for President of the United States. An entrepreneur who ran ...read more. Also a military man, he served as a Confederate general during the Civil War, between 1861 and 1865. Taking this as a rebuff, the proud Kentuckian left town without calling on either Miss Lane or the president. Similarly snubbed, Breckinridge quickly discovered that he held less influence with Buchanan as vice president than he had as a member of the House with Pierce. Breckinridge campaigned for Democratic presidential nominee James K. Polk during the 1844 campaign. Breckinridge supported the Kansas-Nebraska Act in the hope that it would take slavery in the territories out of national politics, but the act had entirely the opposite effect. Continuing on with our examination of the platforms of the political parties in the 1860 election, we come to the platform of the Democrats who refused to support Douglas and nominated Vice-President of the United States John C. Breckinridge for President. During this time Breckinridge argued for an organized end to the hostilities and counseled Confederate President Jefferson Davis against extending the war through guerilla actions. In Richmond he volunteered for military service, exchanging, as he said, his "term of six years in the Senate of the United States for the musket of a soldier." 14th Vice President Political Party Democratic Term March 4, 1857 - March 4, 1861 (36-40) President James Buchanan Predecessor William R.D. Buchanan won the nomination and election primarily because nobody knew where he stood on the issues, since he had been out of the country for the past three years as minister to England. John C. Breckinridge and a Party Divided. Despite Bragg’s accusations, in February 1864 Breckinridge was called to Richmond and charged with heading the Western Department of Virginia, a massive command that included the Shenandoah Valley. Breckinridge became a spokesman for the proslavery Democrats, arguing that the federal government had no right to interfere with slavery anywhere, either in the District of Columbia or in any of the territories. The boy attended the Presbyterian Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, where he received his bachelor's degree at seventeen. Among Kentucky's political leaders none enjoyed a more illustrious national career than John C. Breckinridge, who held the offices of representative, senator, and vice president.In the multi-candidate 1860 presidential race, he ran as the candidate of the Southern Democratic party. "Why, sah, we are suffering from the oppression of the Federal Government. "They were a high-strung pair," commented Breckinridge's friend Forney. Unlike many anti-slavery activists, he was not a pacifist and believed in aggressive action against slaveholders and any government officials who enabled them. Bragg would later blame Breckinridge for the loss at Chattanooga and even accused him of being drunk during the battle. Later that year, Linn Boyd died while campaigning for the Senate, and Kentucky Democrats nominated Breckinridge for the seat, which would become vacant at the time Breckinridge's term as vice president ended. The new vice president bought property in the District of Columbia and planned to construct, along with his good friends Senator Douglas and Senator Henry Rice of Minnesota, three large, expensive, connected houses at New Jersey Avenue and I Street that would become known as "Minnesota Row." The newlyweds settled in Georgetown, and Breckinridge opened a law office in Lexington. Stopping in many cities to visit old friends, he reached Lexington, Kentucky, a month later. He was then placed in command of troops in southwestern Virginia. Senator from Kentucky and the Vice President of the United States. Yet, while Breckinridge was no planter or large slaveholder, he owned a few household slaves and idealized the southern way of life. Sen. Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois, the champion of popular sovereignty policy, was the Northern Democrats’ candidate, and Vice Pres. Although Tennessee's Governor Andrew Johnson grumbled that Breckinridge's lack of national reputation would hurt the ticket, Buchanan's managers were pleased with the choice. The election was a three-way race among the Democrats under Buchanan, the Republicans under John Charles Frémont, and the Know-Nothings under former President Millard Fillmore. When Boyd ran poorly on the first ballot, the convention switched to Breckinridge and nominated him on the second ballot. Although he was only fifty-four, his health declined severely and he died on May 17, 1875. After participating in the defense of Vicksburg in June 1863, Breckinridge served at the Confederate victory at the Battle of Chickamauga in September. He would later play an important role at the Battles of New Market and Cold Harbor before serving as the final Confederate secretary of war in 1865. When Oregon entered the Union in 1859, he was chosen one of its first senators. Although his cousin Mary Todd Lincoln resided in the White House and his home state of Kentucky remained in the Union, Breckinridge chose to volunteer his services to the Confederate army. He studied law at Transylvania University and after graduating he set up as a lawyer. Although his supporters promoted him as "the man for the crisis," Buchanan was in fact the worst man for the crisis. He spoke at a number of peace rallies, proclaiming that, if Kentucky took up arms against the Confederacy, then someone else must represent the state in the Senate. ", On Christmas Day, 1868, departing President Andrew Johnson issued a blanket pardon for all Confederates. To which Douglas replied, "Mr. President, I wish you to remember that General Jackson is dead." Fearing arrest, he fled to the South in September 1861 after Kentucky sided with the Union. When President Lincoln called Congress into special session on July 4, 1861, to raise the arms and men necessary to fight the Civil War, Breckinridge returned to Washington as the leader of what was left of the Senate Democrats. John C. Calhoun (1782-1850), was a prominent U.S. statesman and spokesman for the slave-plantation system of the antebellum South. He was from Kentucky.He served in the House from 1851 to 1855. When the Democratic Party split over the issue in the summer of 1860, Breckinridge emerged as the presidential nominee of the pro-slavery Southern Democrats. Breckinridge next reinforced the Army of Northern Virginia for the Battle of Cold Harbor, in which his men repulsed a heavy assault by Union troops. He attended the convention as a delegate, voting first for Pierce and then switching to Douglas. Burdened with her husband's debts, widow Mary Breckinridge and her children moved to her in-laws' home near Lexington, Kentucky, where J… He willingly defended slavery and white supremacy against all critics. Title For President, John C. Breckinridge, of Kentucky. Title For President, John C. Breckinridge, of Kentucky. Going to the White House, he served as a broker between Douglas and President Franklin Pierce, persuading the president to support the bill. An Illustrious Political Family. There, at Winchester, Virginia, they confronted Union troops commanded by Philip H. Sheridan. At a time when the Buchanan administration was falling "in prestige and political consequence, the star of the Vice President rises higher above the clouds." Most of the Breckinridge’s adhered to the new party, but at about this time young John C. Breckinridge began to find Democratic ideas more persuasive. Left without resources, his wife took her children back to Cabell's Dale to live with their grandmother, known affectionately as "Grandma Black Cap." During the Battle of Chattanooga in November, his unit was routed by Union General George H. Thomas’s attack on Missionary Ridge. But federal troops halted the Confederates, who retreated back to the Shenandoah Valley. People noted that his uncle, Robert Breckinridge, was a prominent antislavery man, and that as a state legislator Breckinridge had aided the Kentucky Colonization Society (a branch of the American Colonization Society), dedicated to gradual emancipation and the resettlement of free blacks outside the United States. www.senate.gov, Senator Baker was killed while leading his militia at the Battle of Ball's Bluff. Title For President, John C. Breckinridge, of Kentucky. Upper left: Southern Democrat John C. Breckinridge arm in arm with retiring president James Buchanan, who was nicknamed “the Buck.” The nominee was thirty-six years old—just a year over the constitutional minimum age for holding the office—and his election would make him the youngest vice president in American history. Continuing on with our examination of the platforms of the political parties in the 1860 election, we come to the platform of the Democrats who refused to support Douglas and nominated Vice-President of the United States John C. Breckinridge for President. He sided with Buchanan on the Lecompton Constitution but endorsed Douglas for reelection to the Senate. In his brief life John C. Breckinridge embraced the roles of lawyer, politician, statesman, soldier, exile, and businessman. During those years, he observed, the Constitution had "survived peace and war, prosperity and adversity" to protect "the larger personal freedom compatible with public order." In that election, as in all his campaigns, he demonstrated both an exceptional ability as a stump speaker and a politician's memory for names and faces. The only vice president ever to take up arms against the government of the United States, John Cabell Breckinridge completed four years as vice president under James Buchanan, ran for president as the Southern Democratic candidate in 1860, and then returned to the Senate to lead the remnants of the Democratic party for the first congressional session during the Civil War. Breckinridge was proud that Kentucky voted for a Democratic presidential ticket for the first time since 1828. Contact   |   In 1986, he began his long tenure as the U.S. ...read more, George C. Marshall (1880-1959) was one of the most decorated military leaders in American history. The only vice president ever to take up arms against the government of the United States, John Cabell Breckinridge completed four years as vice president under James Buchanan, ran for president as the Southern Democratic candidate in 1860, and then returned to the Senate to lead the remnants of the Democratic party for the first congressional session during the Civil War. His daughter Mary later remarked that, while exile was a quiet relief for her mother, it was hard on her father, "separated from the activities of life, and unable to do anything towards making a support for his family." Nicknamed “His Accidency,” Tyler was the first ...read more, John Bell Hood was a U.S. military officer who served as a Confederate general during the Civil War (1861-65). Breckinridge was a Jacksonian Democrat in a state that Senator Henry Clay had made a Whig bastion. The most dramatic moment of the session occurred on August 1, when Senator Breckinridge took the floor to oppose the Lincoln administration's expansion of martial law. Fleeing Richmond, Breckinridge commanded the troops that accompanied Davis and his cabinet. For Vice-President, Joseph Lane, of Oregon. Lower left: Northern Democrat Stephen A. Douglas dancing with an Irishman. After the special session, Breckinridge returned to Kentucky to try to keep his state neutral. John Cabell Breckinridge (January 16, 1821 – May 17, 1875) was a lawyer, U.S. Representative, U.S. PDF Help   |   King Successor Hannibal Hamlin Full Name John Cabell Breckinridge Birth January 16, 1821 Lexington, Kentucky Father Joseph Cabell Breckinridge … Breckinridge spent most of the campaign in Kentucky, but he gave speeches in Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan, defending the Kansas-Nebraska Act. Worried that a split in the anti-Republican vote would ensure Lincoln's victory, Davis proposed a scheme by which Breckinridge, Douglas, and Bell would agree to withdraw their candidacies in favor of a compromise candidate. Because of his centrist position, Breckinridge became a very attractive candidate for the Democratic Party in 1856. Breckinridge and Bragg experienced a falling-out in the wake of the battle and remained on poor terms for the rest of their tenure together. Breckinridge began his political career in 1849, when he won a seat in the Kentucky House of Representatives. When Gordon urged him to be careful, Breckinridge replied, "Well, general, there is little left for me if our cause is to fail." In January, Mississippi Senator Jefferson Davis and other southerners bid a formal farewell to the Senate. They held their own convention in Baltimore and nominated Breckinridge as their presidential candidate. asked Breckinridge. Privately, he told Mrs. Jefferson Davis, "I trust that I have the courage to lead a forlorn hope." He became increasingly convinced that the South's cause was lost and, as the end of the war drew near, he met with Union general William T. Sherman to discuss surrender terms. He was not optimistic about his chances. Forewarned, he packed his bag and fled to Virginia. When Cutting refused, Breckinridge interpreted this as a challenge to a duel. He then returned to Kentucky and studied at Transylvania University, graduating in 1841. “The Political Quadrille, Music by Dred Scott” satirized the four candidates for president in 1860, along with their supporters. Lane's embrace of the secessionist spirit attracted him to the Southern Democrats. A graduate of the Virginia Military Institute, he was a World War I staff officer and later became assistant commandant at the U.S. Infantry School. The family also believed strongly in education, since Breckinridge's maternal grandfather, Samuel Stanhope Smith, had served as president of the College of New Jersey at Princeton, and his uncle Robert J. Breckinridge started Kentucky's public school system. On January 28, 1865, Breckinridge accepted the post of secretary of war in the Confederate government. On January 4, 1859, when the Senate met for the last time in its old chamber, he used the occasion to deliver an eloquent appeal for national unity. In January 1865 Breckinridge was appointed the fifth and final Confederate secretary of war. Breckinridge remained in office even after the beginning of the Civil War, and encouraged his home state to secede as the conflict escalated. 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Political and military leaders of what would soon become the Union unit spearheaded attacks on the House Representatives! Too much time in politics coat of a Union army colonel Chattanooga and accused! First time since 1828 president in U.S. history misconduct but would have little success in attempts... Off the country ’ s siege at Chattanooga in the state capital at the age of.! Breckinridge campaigned for Democratic presidential nominee he devoted himself entirely john c breckinridge political party private matters through their on...