Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/United States/Breckinridge, John Cabell
Breckinridge, John Cabell (1821-1875), vice-president of the United States from 1857 to 1861, was born near Lexington, Ky., Jan. 21, 1821. He was admitted to the bar, served as major in the Mexican war, and was a Democratic member of the house of representatives from 1851 to 1855. He was elected vice-president in 1856 by the Democrats. In 1860 he was nominated for the presidency by the Southern wing of the Democratic party, but was defeated. Elected United States senator, he took his seat at the special session of July 4, 1861, left it (Aug. 6) to enter the Confederate army, and was expelled from the senate Dec. 4. He served at Murfreesboro and Chickamauga, and in the east, and in 1865 became the Confederate secretary of war. For a time he was in Europe, but returned in 1868, and died May 17, 1875.