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John B. Breckinridge

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

John Bayne Breckinridge
JBBreckinridge.png
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Kentucky's 6th district
In office
January 3, 1973 – January 3, 1979
Preceded byWilliam P. Curlin Jr.
Succeeded byLarry Hopkins
38th & 40th Attorney General of Kentucky
In office
1968–1972
GovernorLouie Nunn
Wendell Ford
Preceded byRobert F. Matthews Jr.
Succeeded byEd W. Hancock
In office
1960–1964
GovernorBert Combs
Ned Breathitt
Preceded byJo M. Ferguson
Succeeded byRobert F. Matthews, Jr.
Member of the Kentucky House of Representatives
In office
1956–1960
Personal details
BornNovember 29, 1913
Washington, D.C., U.S.
DiedJuly 29, 1979(1979-07-29) (aged 65)
Lexington, Kentucky, U.S.
Resting placeLexington Cemetery
Political partyDemocratic
RelationsSee Breckinridge family
ParentsScott Dudley Breckinridge Sr.
Gertrude Ashby Bayne

John Bayne Breckinridge (November 29, 1913 – July 29, 1979) was an American politician, a Democrat who served as Attorney General of Kentucky twice and also served as a member of the United States House of Representatives from Kentucky.

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Transcription

♪ (music) ♪ Political generals are an often discussed, but little understood aspect of Civil War history. They were, as their name suggests, politically well-connected individuals who were appointed to positions of military responsibility. That's not to say that professional military men were not politically well-connected and did not have political aspects to their job. They did. But they were appointed because of their military abilities. Political generals were appointed because they were politically well-connected. Political generals existed for several reasons. First, during the Civil War, both North and South were forced to raise massive armies. And there were only a limited number of experienced officers in both the North and the South. Politicians, even if they did not have military experience, had certain valuable skills. They were experienced at communicating with people. They were experienced at getting people to do things. Many of them had administrative experience if they'd served as governors or had served in cabinets or in other administrative government positions. So they had certain valuable skills that made them useful militarily. But the main reason was they were politically well-connected. Both President Abraham Lincoln and President Jefferson Davis needed to build and keep together political coalitions to support their policies. Lincoln was especially adept at this, appointing as many as 100 political figures to military posts. Many of Lincoln's appointees were what were known as War Democrats, members of the opposition Democratic Party who supported the Union war effort. Lincoln appointed them because they were able to convince Democrats to support the union cause. Other political generals in the Union Army were important immigrant figures, such as General Carl Schurz of Germany. Schurz was a political revolutionary who fled Germany after the failed 1848 revolutions. He was an important figure in the Republican Party and a popular figure in the German immigrant community. He was able to convince many German immigrants to support the Union cause and join the Union Army. In fact, many of the political generals' most valuable contribution to war effort on both sides was in recruiting soldiers to fill the ranks. Another famous political general, perhaps the most notorious, was Benjamin Butler of Massachusetts. Butler was the quintessential political opportunist. Before the war, as late as 1860, he supported pro-slavery Democrats from the South. Very quickly in 1861, however, he not only became a Unionist, he became a radical anti-slavery Unionist. In Maryland, he occupied Baltimore, securing the rail connection between Washington, DC and the rest of the North. In Virginia, he initiated the policy of accepting runaway slaves into Union lines as so-called contraband of war. Not all political generals were from the North. Jefferson Davis made use of them as well. One of the most well known was John C. Breckinridge of Kentucky. Before the war, Breckinridge was the Vice President of President James Buchanan. He ran as the nominee of the Southern Democrats in 1860. Then, even though Kentucky remained in the Union, he supported the Confederate cause. Early in the war, he served out West under Braxton Bragg. He was criticized for his performance at Stones River and at Missionary Ridge. He was transferred back East. He led a victorious Southern army at the Battle of New Market, defeating a larger Union force commanded by another political general, Franz Sigel. Another important political general was John B. Floyd. Floyd was one of the worst political generals on either side in the Civil War. Floyd command of the Southern army at the Battle of Fort Donelson, one of the greatest disasters for the South in the entire war. Not only did Floyd loose one of the most important strategic points in the South, he fled and allowed his army to be captured without him. The opposite of Floyd was probably John Logan, who was widely considered the best political general on either side during the Civil War. He served under Grant and Sherman out West. He was wounded at the Battle of Fort Donelson. He commanded troops in the Vicksburg Campaign and the Atlanta Campaign. He was known as "Black Jack"-- John Logan by his men with whom he was very popular. In fact, many political generals were popular amongst their men. Many volunteer soldiers resented West Pointers, who they saw as elitists. So next time you hear about political generals, don't be so quick to dismiss them. Even though many believe they were incompetent, appointed to posts they were incapable of holding, the story is actually more complex. They served important functions on both sides. ♪ (music) ♪

Contents

Early life

Breckinridge was born in the District of Columbia on November 29, 1913. His father was Dr. Scott Dudley Breckinridge Sr. and his mother was Gertrude Ashby (née Bayne) Breckinridge. His father was an fencer who competed in the 1912 Summer Olympics,[1] and was a gynecologist in Lexington.[2]

Breckinridge hailed from the Breckinridge family. His grandfather was major general Joseph Cabell Breckinridge Sr. and among his uncles were Joseph Cabell Breckinridge Jr., an officer in the United States Navy during the Spanish–American War, and Henry Skillman Breckinridge, who served as the United States Assistant Secretary of War under President Woodrow Wilson. He was the great-great-grandson of John Breckinridge, who had served as the second Attorney General of Kentucky and in the Kentucky House of Representatives and who also served as a member of the United States Senate and as Attorney General of the United States. John B. Breckinridge was also the great-nephew of William Campbell Preston Breckinridge who also represented Kentucky in the United States House of Representatives.[3]

He received his bachelors and law degrees from the University of Kentucky. He was admitted to the Kentucky Bar in 1940 and practiced law in Lexington, Kentucky. He worked in the Anti-Trust Division of the United States Department of Justice in 1940-1941 and served in United States Army during World War II, 1941–1946, rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel.[4]

Political career

Breckinridge was twice elected to the Kentucky House of Representatives and served there from 1956 to 1960.[3]

Breckinridge was elected Attorney General of Kentucky in 1959 when Bert T. Combs led the Democratic ticket to victory. He served his first term in that office in 1960–1964. In that first term Breckinridge served on the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Law and was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1960. Under state law at that time Breckinridge could not run for a second consecutive term as attorney general. He ran that year for Lieutenant Governor of Kentucky but lost in the Democratic primary to Harry Lee Waterfield. After that defeat Breckinridge returned to his law practice and began planning for a return to public office.[3]

Breckinridge was elected to a second, non-consecutive term as Attorney General of Kentucky in 1967. Breckinridge won the office although the Republican ticket, led by Louie B. Nunn, won the governorship and the office of secretary of state. Breckinridge served his second term as Attorney General of Kentucky from 1968 to 1972. As his second term wound down, Breckinridge again ran for lieutenant governor in 1971 but lost again in the Democratic primary, this time to the Speaker of the Kentucky House of Representatives Julian Carroll.[3]

In 1972 Breckinridge was elected to the United States House of Representatives from Kentucky's Sixth Congressional District (Lexington and the central Bluegrass). He defeated Republican Laban P. Jackson for the seat. He was re-elected in 1974 and 1976 and served in the House from January 3, 1973, through January 3, 1979. Breckinridge ran for a fourth term in the House in 1978 but was defeated in the Democratic primary by Tom Easterly, who in turn lost the seat to Republican Larry Hopkins.[3]

After his defeat Breckinridge returned to the practice of law in Lexington, Kentucky, where he died less than a year later on July 29, 1979.[4] His ashes were interred at Lexington Cemetery.[3]

Legacy

As a member of the Kentucky House of Representatives and the United States House of Representatives, Breckinridge was regarded as an independent moderate.[4]

References

  1. ^ "Scott Breckinridge Olympic Results". sports-reference.com. Retrieved 2010-04-17.
  2. ^ "DR. S. D. BRECKINRIDGE, GYNECOLOGIST, WAS 59; Kentucky Practitioner, Former National Fencing Champion" (PDF). The New York Times. 2 August 1941. Retrieved 18 June 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "BRECKINRIDGE, John Bayne - Biographical Information". bioguide.congress.gov. Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved 18 June 2019.
  4. ^ a b c "John Bayne Breckinridge". The New York Times. 31 July 1979. Retrieved 18 June 2019.

External links

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
William P. Curlin, Jr.
U.S. Representative from Kentucky's 6th congressional district
January 3, 1973-January 3, 1979
Succeeded by
Larry Hopkins
Legal offices
Preceded by
Jo M. Ferguson
Attorney General of Kentucky
1960–1964
Succeeded by
Robert F. Matthews, Jr.
Preceded by
Robert F. Matthews, Jr.
Attorney General of Kentucky
1968–1972
Succeeded by
Ed W. Hancock
This page was last edited on 22 November 2019, at 07:50
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