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Slidell, John (1793–29 July 1871), U.S. senator and Confederate diplomat, was born in New York City, the son of John Slidell, a merchant and banker, and Margery Mackenzie. Slidell grew up amid the affluence of New York’s thriving mercantile community. After graduating from Columbia College in 1810, he spent several years in Europe working for a New York mercantile firm. He returned to New York, passed the bar examination, and pursued a bachelor’s carefree existence that involved him in a duel with an outraged husband. Sobered by this scandal, he sought his future in New Orleans....