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John Breckinridge

Breckinridge, John, 1760–1806, American statesman, b. Augusta co., Va; grandfather of John Cabell Breckinridge. After he was admitted (1785) to the bar, he practiced law in Charlottesville, Va. Elected (1792) to the U.S. Congress, he soon resigned and moved to Lexington, Ky. He was (1795–97) attorney general of the new state, and as a member (1798–1801) of the state legislature he secured (1798) the enactment of the Kentucky Resolutions (see Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions). Breckinridge also prepared the stronger resolutions passed in the Kentucky legislature the next year in answer to criticisms of the earlier resolutions. In the U.S. Senate (1801–5) he was a leading spokesman of Western interests and played an important role in the passage of legislation bringing about the Louisiana Purchase. He was appointed U.S. Attorney General by President Jefferson in 1805 and died in office.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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