John Cabell Breckinridge (January 16, 1821 A.D – May 17, 1875 A.D), American lawyer, soldier, and statesman, the 14th vice president of the United States before he joined the Confederacy and became a brigadier general in the Civil War. Breckinridge was born near Lexington, Kentucky.
Trained in the law, he served in the U.S. Army during the Mexican War, after which he was elected to the Kentucky legislature. From 1851 A.D to 1855 A.D he served in the U.S. House of Representatives. Breckinridge was elected vice president of the U.S. in 1856 A.D on the Democratic ticket with James Buchanan.
A leading spokesman of the proslavery faction of the Democratic party, he was nominated for the presidency by that faction in 1860 A.D, but lost the election to the Republican candidate Abraham Lincoln. Shortly after the opening of hostilities between the Confederacy and the Union government, Breckinridge helped to organize the Confederate government of Kentucky, joined the Confederate army, and was made a brigadier general in 1862 A.D.
From January to April 1865 A.D he was secretary of war in the cabinet of Confederate President Jefferson Davis. At the close of the conflict he fled to Europe. Returning to the U.S. in 1869 A.D, he thereafter devoted himself to the practice of law.
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