Access Type

Online access to this book is only available to eligible users.



Download Full Text (16.7 MB)


Across more than six generations—beginning before the Revolutionary War—the Breckinridge family has produced a series of notable leaders. These often controversial men and women included a presidential candidate, a U.S. vice president, cabinet members, generals, women’s rights advocates, congressmen, editors, reformers, authors, and church leaders. Along with success, the Breckinridges, like other Americans, faced hardship and war, contended with race, lived through difficult family situations—including a sex scandal—and encountered personal and political failure. An articulate, opinionated, and frank family, the Breckinridges have left a detailed record that allows us a vivid recreation of the range of American history and society.

James C. Klotter, the state historian of Kentucky and professor of history at Georgetown College, is the author, coauthor, or editor of many books, including History Mysteries, Kentucky: Portrait in Paradox 1900-1950, A New History of Kentucky, Kentucky: Decades of Discord, 1865-1900, Kentucky: Land of Tomorrow, Our Kentucky: A Study of the Bluegrass State, Public Papers of Governor Simeon Willis, 1943-1947, and William Goebel: The Politics of Wrath.

"A well-written and often evocative narrative that is liberally sprinkled with first-rate analysis."—Indiana Magazine of History

"Traces the path of the well-known family from log cabins in colonial Virginia to the 20th century."—Kentucky Monthly

"Each of Klotter’s eight central figures merits extended study and he lists more than a dozen ‘secondary’ family members who seem ripe for historical investigation."—Ohio Valley History

"With a new, brief inroduction. . . this hefty volume is well worth the investment for anyone interested in Kentucky history, antebellum politics or the Army of Tennessee."—Civil War News

Publication Date



The University Press of Kentucky

Place of Publication

Lexington, KY






Breckinridge family, Kentucky


United States History

The Breckinridges of Kentucky
Read Sample Off-campus Download