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John Crittenden
Civil War Encyclopedia >> People - Union Political
September 10, 1786 John Jordan Crittenden born near Versailles, KY.
December 18, 1860 Pro-Union Senator John Crittenden of Kentucky proposes the Crittenden Compromise, which allowed states south of the old Missouri Compromise line to determine for themselves whether they entered the Union slave or free.
January 7, 1861 John Crittenden tries to resurrect his proposal on the floor of the Senate. It had earlier been killed by committee.
January 16, 1861 The Crittenden Compromise dies on the floor of the Senate.
July 25, 1861 The Crittenden Resolution passes in Congress. This states the Preservation of the Union is the reason for the Civil War
July 26, 1863 John Crittenden dies, Frankfurt, KY


John Crittenden was born near Versailles, Kentucky in 1787, growing up to attend the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virgina, where he studied law. After being elected to the Kentucky house, Crittenden served at the Battle of the Thames, where he was cited for his bravery.

Following a stint as Illinois Attorney General, Crittenden served briefly in the U. S. Senate, and he returned to the state in 1819. He re-entered politics, serving as speaker of the Kentucky house from 1829-32, becoming an anti-Jacksonian under the rule of Andrew Jackson.

Crittenden was elected to the U. S. Senate in 1835, and was appointed Attorney General under John Tyler, but he resigned in September 1841 following Tyler's veto of the National Bank Act. He returned to the Senate, served as Attorney General again, and served as Governor of Kentucky.

As a powerful border state politician, Crittenden regretted the Kansas-Nebraska Act, feeling that the Missouri Compromise was a better course of action. Decidedly pro-Union, the senator's "Peace at any price" stance was seriously out of touch with the reality of the time. Although his Crittenden Compromise was defeated in committee he tried to resurrect it on the floor of the Senate, where it also failed because neither the Southern Senators or the Republicans would support it.

Following the start of the Civil War Crittenden made many impassioned speeches calling for Kentucky to remain in the Union. Many people credit his strong pro-Union stance as the reason Kentucky remained in the Union. Crittenden continued as a Representative until his death in Frankfort, KY in 1863. Crittenden County, Kentucky is named in his honor.

Two of Crittenden's sons were generals on opposite sides in the Civil War; a grandson of his was killed in George Armstrong Custer's expedition against the Sioux in 1876.

Links appearing on this page:

Andrew Jackson
George Armstrong Custer
John Tyler
Kansas-Nebraska Act
Missouri Compromise

Civil War Encyclopedia >> People - Union Political

John Crittenden was last changed on - June 5, 2006
John Crittenden was added in 2005




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