January 16th, 2017

book cover - rtvp

Vice President John C. Breckinridge

On this date in 1821, John Cabell Breckinridge was born near Lexington, Kentucky. On March 4, 1851, at the age of 30, he took his seat as a member of the House of Representatives, representing Kentucky's eighth district. He served two terms in the House, choosing to not run for re-election in 1854. In 1856, James Buchanan chose him to run for Vice President, and on March 4, 1857 -- less than two months after his 36th birthday -- he took office as the 14th Vice President of the United States. He was, and remains, the youngest Vice President ever. He served the one term with Buchanan, and then ran unsuccessfully for President in 1860 (he was nominated by the Southern faction of a divided Democratic Party, and Abraham Lincoln won the election as the first Republican President). That same election, however, Breckinridge was elected to the Senate representing Kentucky. Breckinridge served in the Senate from March 4, 1861, until he was expelled (for supporting the South) on December 4 of that year. He then served as a General in the Confederate Army during the Civil War, and was later appointed the Confederacy's fifth Secretary of War, serving from February 6 to May 10, 1865. Fearing he'd be charged with treason, he fled the country, returning only after a grant of amnesty in 1869. Breckinridge died relatively young, in 1875.