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John Cabell Breckinridge (January 16, 1821 – May 17, 1875) was a lawyer and politician from the U.S. state of Kentucky. He represented the Commonwealth in both houses of Congress and in 1857, became the 14th and youngest-ever Vice President of the United States (1857–1861). Serving in the U.S. Senate at the outbreak of the Civil War, he was expelled after joining the Confederate Army. He remains the only Senator of the United States convicted of treason against the United States of America by the Senate. He was appointed Confederate Secretary of War late in the war. A member of the Breckinridge family, he was the grandson of U.S. Attorney General John Breckinridge, son of Kentucky Secretary of State Cabell Breckinridge and father of Arkansas Congressman Clifton R. Breckinridge.After non-combat service in the Mexican–American War, Breckinridge was elected as a Democrat to the Kentucky House of Representatives in 1849 where he took a states' rights position against legal interference with slavery. Elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1851, he allied with Stephen A. Douglas in support of the Kansas–Nebraska Act. After reapportionment in 1854 made his re-election unlikely, he declined to run for another term. He was nominated for vice-president at the 1856 Democratic National Convention to balance a ticket headed by Pennsylvanian James Buchanan. The Democrats won the election, but Breckinridge had little influence with Buchanan and, as presiding officer of the Senate, could not express his opinions in that body's debates. In 1859, he was elected to succeed U.S. Senator John J. Crittenden at the end of Crittenden's term in 1861.After Southern Democrats walked out of the 1860 Democratic National Convention, the party's northern and southern factions held rival conventions in Baltimore, Maryland that nominated Stephen Douglas and Breckinridge, respectively, for president. Breckinridge carried most of the southern states but no northern states and lost the election. Taking his seat in the Senate, he urged compromise to preserve the Union although seven states had already seceded. Unionists took control of the state legislature when Kentucky's neutrality was breached, but Breckinridge fled behind Confederate battle lines where he was commissioned a brigadier general; he was then expelled from the Senate. After the April 1862 Battle of Shiloh, he was promoted to major general, and in October he was assigned to the command of Braxton Bragg. After Bragg charged that Breckinridge's drunkenness had contributed to Confederate defeats at Stone River and Missionary Ridge, he was transferred to the Trans-Allegheny Department, where he won his most significant victory at the Battle of New Market. After participating in Jubal Early's 1864 campaigns in the Shenandoah Valley, he was charged with defending Confederate supplies in Tennessee and Virginia. In February 1865, Confederate President Jefferson Davis appointed him Secretary of War. Concluding that the war was hopeless, he urged Davis to arrange a national surrender. After the fall of the Confederate capital at Richmond, he ensured the preservation of Confederate military and governmental records. He then fled to Cuba, Great Britain, and finally, to Canada. In exile, he toured Europe from August 1866 to June 1868. When President Andrew Johnson extended amnesty to all former Confederates in late 1868, he returned to Kentucky, but resisted all encouragement to resume his political career. Issues from war injuries sapped his health, and after two operations, he died on May 17, 1875. Wikipedia