John C. Breckinridge

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John Cabell Breckinridge (January 16, 1821 – May 17, 1875) was an American lawyer and politician. He served as a U.S. Representative and U.S. Senator from Kentucky and was the 14th Vice President of the United States, to date the youngest vice president in U.S. history, inaugurated at age 36.

In the 1860 presidential election, he ran as one of two candidates of the fractured Democratic Party, representing Southern Democrats. Breckinridge came in third place in the popular vote, behind winner Abraham Lincoln, a Republican, and Stephen Douglas, a Northern Democrat, but finished second in the Electoral College vote.

Following the outbreak of the American Civil War, he served in the Confederate States Army as a general and commander of Confederate forces prior to the 1863 Siege of Port Hudson, Louisiana, and of the young Virginia Military Institute cadets, at the 1864 Battle of New Market in Lexington, Virginia. He also served as the fifth and final Confederate Secretary of War.

A member of the prominent Breckinridge family of Kentucky, Breckinridge was the grandson of John Breckinridge (1760–1806), who served as a Senator and Attorney General; the father of congressman and diplomat Clifton Rodes Breckinridge; and the great-grandfather of actor John Cabell "Bunny" Breckinridge.


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