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- Created 2012-03-13
Henry Clay, Sr.
(April 12, 1777 – June 29, 1852) was an American lawyer, politician and skilled orator who represented
in both the
United States Senate
House of Representatives
. He served three different terms as
Speaker of the House of Representatives
and was also
Secretary of State
from 1825 to 1829. He lost his campaigns for president in
Clay was a dominant figure in both the
systems. As a leading
in 1812, he favored war with Britain and played a significant role in
leading the nation to war
War of 1812
. In 1824 he ran for president and lost, but threw his electoral votes to
John Quincy Adams
, who made him secretary of state as the Jacksonians denounced what they considered a "corrupt bargain. " He ran and lost again in 1832 and 1844 as the candidate of the
, which he founded and usually dominated. Clay was the foremost proponent of the
, fighting for an increase in tariffs to foster industry in the United States, the use of federal funding to build and maintain infrastructure, and a strong national bank. He opposed the annexation of Texas, fearing it would inject the slavery issue into politics. Clay also opposed the
and the "
" policy of Democrats, which cost him votes in the close 1844 election.
Dubbed the "Great Pacificator," Clay brokered important compromises during the
and on the slavery issue. As part of the "
" or "Immortal Trio," along with his colleagues
John C. Calhoun
, he was instrumental in formulating the
Missouri Compromise of 1820
Compromise of 1850
. He was viewed as the primary representative of Western interests in this group, and was given the names "Henry of the West" and "The Western Star. " A plantation owner, Clay held slaves during his lifetime but freed them in his Will.
, the Whig leader in Illinois, was a great admirer of Clay, saying he was "my ideal of a great man. " Lincoln wholeheartedly supported Clay's economic programs. In 1957, a Senate Committee selected Clay as one of the five greatest U.S. Senators, along with
John C. Calhoun
Robert La Follette
from Wikipedia (last updated: 12 December), licensed under
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Henry Clay Center for Statesmanship (HenryClayCS.org)
Clay's Ashland Home web site
Henry Clay: A Resource Guide
A New Nation Votes: American Election Returns 1787–1825
Henry Clay Letters, 1825-1851
Letters of Henry Clay
Abraham Lincoln's Eulogy of Henry Clay
Teaching American History.Org
''Booknotes'' interview with Robert Remini on ''Henry Clay: Statesman for the Union'', May 5, 1992.
"Henry Clay, Presidential Contender"
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