C, Crittenden, John Jordan
Edited By: Kermit L. Hall, James W. Ely Jr., Joel B. Grossman
Edited By: Kermit L. Hall
Crittenden, John Jordan
(b. near Versailles, Ky., 10 Sep. 1787; d. Frankfort, Ky., 26 July (p. 238) 1863), lawyer, statesman, and unconfirmed nominee for the Supreme Court. Crittenden prepared for college at Kentucky seminaries, read law with George Bibb, graduated from William and Mary College in 1806, and was admitted to the Kentucky bar in 1807. In 1812, voters sent him to the state assembly; in 1817, he was elevated to the U.S. Senate, where he remained until the Panic of 1819 compelled his return to Kentucky.
After 1824, Crittenden was a staunch supporter of Henry Clay and John Quincy *Adams; the latter made him U.S. district attorney for Kentucky in 1827. On the eve of Andrew *Jackson’s election, Adams nominated Crittenden as an associate justice of the Supreme Court, but the Senate declined to consider the appointment. President William Henry Harrison appointed him attorney general in 1841. In that capacity, he helped avert war with Britain during the McLeod trial, but resigned after John *Tyler became president. After 1842, he sat in the Senate as a Whig and later served as attorney general under President Millard Fillmore. In 1853, he returned to the Senate. There, Crittenden decried disunionism as well as President James Buchanan’s position on the Lecompton Constitution, but he also opposed radical abolition, defending the merits of 1820 Missouri Compromise. Crittenden helped to found the Constitutional Union Party in 1858, and later opposed the Emancipation Proclamation.
Sandra F. VanBurkleo