Talk:John Breckinridge (U.S. Attorney General)

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Good article John Breckinridge (U.S. Attorney General) has been listed as one of the History good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.
Article milestones
Date Process Result
January 7, 2013 Good article nominee Listed
Did You Know


People of this era weren't known for their spelling.  :)

Hephaestos 06:31 Feb 2, 2003 (UTC)

5th United States Attorney General[edit]

Sure? See Robert Smith (cabinet), correct please (both have the same number - fifth).Thanks--AnjaManix (talk) 14:28, 24 January 2010 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:John Breckinridge (U.S. Attorney General)/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: Khazar2 (talk · contribs) 21:47, 5 January 2013 (UTC)

Assuming you don't mind getting another review from me so soon (and I won't be the least offended if you'd prefer a set of fresher eyes), I'll be glad to take this one. As last time, I'll begin with a close readthrough over the next day or two, noting any initial issues I see, and then go to the checklist. Thanks in advance for your work on this one. -- Khazar2 (talk) 21:47, 5 January 2013 (UTC)

Would be quite glad for you to take any of my GACs any time. If this one hasn't made you batty, I also wrote from scratch and nominated an article about his son, Cabell, and am working on a series of sub-articles on his grandson, John C. Breckinridge. An interesting lot, those Breckinridges. Acdixon (talk · contribs) 02:40, 6 January 2013 (UTC)
I just might move on to Cabell later this week if nobody else gets to him first! -- Khazar2 (talk) 13:21, 7 January 2013 (UTC)

Initial readthrough[edit]

  • As last time, I've made various small changes that looked like easy fixes, but if I've made any unintentional errors, let me know.
    • I don't see anything problematic there. Acdixon (talk · contribs) 02:40, 6 January 2013 (UTC)
  • Doublecheck me on this, but I believe that when you refer to "the West" as a region, you capitalize it. I've changed this in the lead for now, but change it back if I'm wrong.
  • The last paragraph of the lead is a bit hefty; consider splitting it in two, maybe at "Elected to the U.S. Senate in 1801..."
    • I usually try to keep the lead to three paragraphs, but WP:LEAD says four is OK. Done. Acdixon (talk · contribs) 02:40, 6 January 2013 (UTC)
  • "site of the prominent horse racing stable" -- "prominent" seems slightly peacocky here per WP:PEA; it's also problematic that the only source given is the stable itself. I would suggest deleting the word. I'm not sure this belongs in the lead, either, but I defer to your judgement on that.
    • As for the "prominent" part, I don't know beans about it. I assumed that since it had a Wikipedia article, it must be fairly prominent. Honestly, if it hadn't been mentioned in the draft I replaced, I wouldn't have known to look for the information at all. As for mentioning it in the lead, I thought it might help the modern reader relate to the subject, but it is a pretty minor point overall, and I wouldn't argue with dropping it from the lead. Given my reasoning for putting it there in the first place, what do you think? Acdixon (talk · contribs) 02:40, 6 January 2013 (UTC)
      • I would say drop it from the lead if it didn't show up in your other sources. We don't seem to have any sources asserting its significance beyond the place itself. It's an interesting enough point (and noncontroversial enough) that I think it belongs in the article later, though, even if only sourced to a primary source for now. -- Khazar2 (talk) 04:04, 6 January 2013 (UTC)
  • Boy, that Brecken/Breckin thing is really confusing. Good call adding the footnote.
    • I came within an ace of leaving it out, but after reading it in two or three of the sources, I thought it well-documented enough to include, even if we can't pinpoint why or exactly when it changed. Acdixon (talk · contribs) 02:40, 6 January 2013 (UTC)
  • "His mother was"; "His father had two children" -- the pronouns get a little tangled here. It may be better to just use the names in both of those instances, perhaps shortening to just Robert and Lettice.
    • I hate resorting to first names, but after all this working on Breckinridges, I'm seeing it can't be helped. Changed. Acdixon (talk · contribs) 02:40, 6 January 2013 (UTC)
  • William and Mary College (now College of William & Mary) -- I'm not sure this minor tweak of the name needs to be spelled out here, but defer to your judgement.
    • I really debated this, and I still don't know what I think. If not for already using the parenthetical with Augusta Academy, I would probably just pipe the link. Maybe I'll leave it as-is for now, but if the suggestion comes up again when this eventually goes to FAC, I'll probably change it. Acdixon (talk · contribs) 02:40, 6 January 2013 (UTC)
  • " they adjourned" --I think technically the House as a unit should be it, not they. For clarity, would you be ok with repeating "The House" here?
    • You are right about an unclear antecedent here. The pronoun should be "it" if the intended antecedent were "The House", but since, to be pedantic, I don't think "The House" can really adjourn itself. It's inanimate. Changed to "the legislators". Acdixon (talk · contribs) 02:40, 6 January 2013 (UTC)
  • "Although reports of his death reached Virginia" -- adding "false" before reports would avoid momentary confusion for slow-witted readers like myself
    • A valid point, although I went with "inaccurate" rather than "false". To me, "false" connotes malicious intent, which doesn't seem to have been the case. Acdixon (talk · contribs) 02:40, 6 January 2013 (UTC)
      • Even better. Good choice. -- Khazar2 (talk) 04:04, 6 January 2013 (UTC)
  • "Although alarmed that frontier settlers could initiate war with Spain" -- I wonder if "might" would be a more accurate word here than "could"? "Could" implies that GW was confident they had the ability to do so, instead of that they possibly could do so.
    • I think Washington was convinced both that they might and that they could, but you're right, I meant "might" and have changed it appropriately. Acdixon (talk · contribs) 02:40, 6 January 2013 (UTC)

Not all the way through yet, but Little Miss Khazar says it's time to play, and I agree. More tonight/tomorrow. -- Khazar2 (talk) 22:40, 5 January 2013 (UTC)

Yeah, that's all the time I have for now, too. Little Miss Acdixon has been begging me to color with her, and she needs a bath. Looking forward to the rest. Acdixon (talk · contribs) 02:40, 6 January 2013 (UTC)
Well, Little Miss Acdixon has good timing--I was just signing on to do the rest, so we can keep passing the baton back and forth. =) -- Khazar2 (talk) 02:43, 6 January 2013 (UTC)
They're great, aren't they? Acdixon (talk · contribs) 23:18, 6 January 2013 (UTC)
  • "over token opposition to the U.S. House of Representatives" -- consider reversing the order of these modifiers ("to the U.S. House of Representatives over... ")
  • "the extent of his influence on Jefferson's original draft of the resolutions in uncertain." -- this could use a citation; also, "uncertain" repeats in this sentence.
    • Oh, wow; how did I end up leaving that uncited? Fixed, and fixed the doubling of "uncertain", too. Acdixon (talk · contribs) 23:18, 6 January 2013 (UTC)
  • "Lowell Harrison notes that after Breckinridge left Virginia, his contacts with Jefferson were few until his election to the Senate in 1801; he considered it unlikely that Jefferson was mistaken about a meeting between the two to discuss a matter as important as the resolutions.[72] He posits that Jefferson may have met separately with Breckinridge and Nicholas to discuss the resolutions, and the meeting with Breckinridge was kept secret from Nicholas" -- some pronoun confusion in here. What about rewriting as "Lowell Harrison notes that after Breckinridge left Virginia, his contacts with Jefferson were few until his election to the Senate in 1801. Harrison considered it unlikely that Jefferson was mistaken about a meeting between the two to discuss a matter as important as the resolutions,[72] positing that Jefferson may have met separately with Breckinridge and Nicholas to discuss the resolutions, and that the meeting with Breckinridge was kept secret from Nicholas". This also fixes the change in tense between "considered" and "posits".
  • "The resolutions brought to the floor" -- brought by JB or by the committee as a whole?
    • The committee, although I wouldn't be surprised if Breckinridge acted as its spokesman. Acdixon (talk · contribs) 23:18, 6 January 2013 (UTC)
  • "he endorsed nullification if Congress would not repeal the acts after a majority of states declared their opposition to them" -- the word "Congress" has appeared several times before now, so this felt like an odd spot to link it.
    • Yeah, just missed my first mention here. Acdixon (talk · contribs) 23:18, 6 January 2013 (UTC)
  • "similarly futile" -- futile has a faint judgement about it (the opposition may have had impact beyond the vote alone); "unsuccessful" might be a better term. Follow your source, though, if your source emphasizes futile.
  • Which Nicholas helped with the KY resolutions--George or Wilson? It appears to be Wilson, so I moved his name up for now, but correct if inaccurate.
  • "Democratic-Republican" should probably have an ndash per MOS:DASH in each occurrence.
    • The wiki-article doesn't appear to use the ndash. Acdixon (talk · contribs) 23:18, 6 January 2013 (UTC)
  • " to prove the new courts and judges were unnecessary." -- "prove" is probably too strong a word here, unless his rebuttal was absolutely definitive. Perhaps "argue"?
    • I thought about "argue" but I thought that necessitated some qualifier about the data used. What do you think? Acdixon (talk · contribs) 23:18, 6 January 2013 (UTC)
  • " frontiersmen" -- is it possible to find gender-neutral language here? (Not a sarcastic question, I'm struggling myself.) It seems likely there would be at least some families out there, both men and women--though I suppose the latter weren't considered part of the electorate yet.
  • " concluded that the solons felt a ticket" -- I will confess that solons sent me to the dictionary. But while a good education for Khazar, it might be more advanced vocabulary than needed; can another word or phrase be found?
    • "Solons" is one I ran across in some 19th century works. I was trying to vary up "lawmakers", "legislators", "congressmen", etc., but I can use one of those again if you think this too anachronistic. Acdixon (talk · contribs) 23:18, 6 January 2013 (UTC)
      • It does carry a good period flavor, but I do think it's a little antiquated and should probably be changed to increase accessibility to young/nonnative readers. This is well beyond the good article criteria, though, so it's totally up to you. -- Khazar2 (talk) 13:07, 7 January 2013 (UTC)
  • "Virginia-New York" -- should also have ndash, I think
    • I think you're right on that one. Changed. Acdixon (talk · contribs) 23:18, 6 January 2013 (UTC)
  • "both of which Breckinridge supported" -- I'm not immediately sure how to rewrite this, but this phrase leaves it ambiguous if he support the 1800 bankruptcy act or its repeal. Perhaps a semicolon and "Breckinridge supported the passage of both measures"?
  • Not an action point, but we should all wish for last names as good as "Crowninshield".
    • No doubt. Reminds me of a comment on my FAC of Henry Cornelius Burnett that "Wikipedia needs more featured articles about people who look like bearded 12-year-olds". (Check out his pic if you're interested!) Acdixon (talk · contribs) 23:18, 6 January 2013 (UTC)
      • Lol. A truly unfortunte face. -- Khazar2 (talk) 13:07, 7 January 2013 (UTC)
  • "because of Breckinridge's lack of qualfications" -- did Harrison think JB lacked qualifications, as this suggests? Perhaps rephrase as "not because Breckinridge lacked any qualifications" if that would be more accurate.
    • Hadn't thought of reading it like that, but you're right. Changed. Acdixon (talk · contribs) 23:18, 6 January 2013 (UTC)
  • " none were of lasting importance" -- I would insert an "according to X" for this opinion.
  • "sent one back for retrial in a lower court" -- did Breckinridge send it back for retrial, or the justices?
    • I assume the justices, but I don't think the source was specific. Clarified. Acdixon (talk · contribs) 23:18, 6 January 2013 (UTC)

Okay, I think that's everything for now! Despite my many nitpicky comments above, this article is excellent overall--clear, thorough, well-researched, and best of all, actually interesting, thanks to including the occasional anecdote along with raw factual material. I still have some other areas to check, but I'm not anticipating any major problems at this point. -- Khazar2 (talk) 04:04, 6 January 2013 (UTC)

Glad you found it an enjoyable read; I enjoyed researching it. Gotta run for now. I'll check back later. Acdixon (talk · contribs) 23:18, 6 January 2013 (UTC)
All your changes above look great; thanks for getting to them so fast and thoughtfully. -- Khazar2 (talk) 13:07, 7 January 2013 (UTC)


Rate Attribute Review Comment
1. Well written:
1a. the prose is clear and concise, and the spelling and grammar are correct. Prose is excellent; spotchecks of JSTOR and Google Books sources show no evidence of copyright issues.
1b. it complies with the manual of style guidelines for lead sections, layout, words to watch, fiction, and list incorporation. Complies with MOS.
2. Verifiable with no original research:
2a. it contains a list of all references (sources of information), presented in accordance with the layout style guideline. Sourcing is excellent.
2b. all in-line citations are from reliable sources, including those for direct quotations, statistics, published opinion, counter-intuitive or controversial statements that are challenged or likely to be challenged, and contentious material relating to living persons—science-based articles should follow the scientific citation guidelines.
2c. it contains no original research.
3. Broad in its coverage:
3a. it addresses the main aspects of the topic.
3b. it stays focused on the topic without going into unnecessary detail (see summary style).
4. Neutral: it represents viewpoints fairly and without editorial bias, giving due weight to each.
5. Stable: it does not change significantly from day to day because of an ongoing edit war or content dispute.
6. Illustrated, if possible, by images:
6a. images are tagged with their copyright status, and valid fair use rationales are provided for non-free content.
6b. images are relevant to the topic, and have suitable captions.
7. Overall assessment. Pass.

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