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Henry Clay
Civil War Encyclopedia >> People - Other
November 3, 1824 Andrew Jackson defeats John Quincy Adams, William Crawford and Henry Clay in popular and electoral votes in the Presidential election
  Election of 1824
  Andrew Jackson
  John Quincy Adams
  William H. Crawford
December 12, 1831 National Republicans hold a convention in Baltimore. They nominate Henry Clay unanimously on the first ballot to run for President. John Sergeant of Pennsylvania is chosen as his running mate Maryland
  Election of 1832
March 2, 1833 Congress passes the Tariff Act of 1833, sometimes called the Compromise Tariff, proposed by Henry Clay and calling for the gradual reduction of tariffs to the 1816 levels, ending the Nullification Crisis
  Nullification Crisis
  Causes of the Civil War
December 4, 1839
December 6, 1839
Whigs hold their national convention in Harrisburg and nominate William Henry Harrison of Ohio for President with 148 votes. Henry Clay received 90 and Winfield Scott had 16. John Tyler was unanimously selected as Harrison's Vice-President Pennsylvania
  Winfield Scott
  John Tyler
  William Henry Harrison
November 5, 1844 James Polk [Democrat] defeats Henry Clay [Whig] to become President of the United States
  James Polk
  Election of 1844
  Democratic Party
June 7, 1848
June 9, 1848
Whigs meet in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Nominees included Zachary Taylor, Henry Clay, Daniel Webster and Winfield Scott. Taylor wins the nomination on the fourth ballot Pennsylvania
  Daniel Webster
  Winfield Scott
  Zachary Taylor
  Election of 1848
January 29, 1850 Aging politician Henry Clay proposes a series of laws that would later be known as the Compromise of 1850
  Compromise of 1850
March 4, 1850 Too ill to deliver his prepared text to the Senate against Clay's plan, John C. Calhoun listens as Virginia Senator James M. Mason reads the text for him. South Carolina
  Speech by John C. Calhoun, March 4, 1850
  Compromise of 1850
  John C. Calhoun
March 7, 1850 Daniel Webster rises in the Senate and supports Clay's Compromise of 1850. John C. Calhoun is listening.
  Compromise of 1850
  John C. Calhoun
July 30, 1850 Henry Clay's Omnibus Bill (the original Compromise of 1850 legislation) is defeated
  Compromise of 1850


Henry Clay

Henry Clay was a U. S. Senator from Kentucky and 4-time presidential contender known as "The Great Compromiser." He is generally credited with the Missouri Compromise (Compromise of 1820), the Compromise Tariff of 1833, and the Compromise of 1850.

Born on April 12, 1777, the son of a Baptist preacher, Henry Clay came from an area known as The Slashes, now part of Ashland, Virginia. He barely knew his father, who died when Clay was 5 years old. For 10 years his mother struggled to raise her children near the Pamunkey River. In 1792 Clay's mother remarried and moved to Kentucky, but without Henry. At 14, Henry had acquired a job in a Richmond, Virginia pharmacy. Later that year he secured a better job in the High Court of Chancery. Clay found himself well-suited for this job. One of his tasks was to copy documents by hand, and this proved to be the best way of learning for the apt young man.

By 1796 Henry Clay was so successful that he moved the attorney-general's office, where he began to study law. Near the end of 1797 Clay was awarded his license to practice law by the state of Virginia. With his family in Kentucky, Clay opted to begin his practice in Lexington, then a town of the western frontier of the United States. In a speech in June, 1842, Clay remembered his first fee (15 shilling) and his first year (100 pounds) as being lucrative.

During his time in Lexington, Henry Clay came up against some regionally recognized lawyers including John Breckenridge (future father of the U. S. Vice-President under James Buchanan, and Southern Democratic candidate for President in The Election of 1860, John Breckenridge, Jr.). In 1798 the federal government began passing the Alien and Sedition Acts, and this, according to Clay, started his desire to enter public office. He entered his first race in 1803 and was elected by acclamation (this was prior to the popular election of officials).

In 1955 the Senate decided to honor its most illustrious members. A committee chaired by John Fitzgerald Kennedy chose Clay and his contemporaries Daniel Webster and John C. Calhoun from the 19th century.

Links appearing on this page:

Compromise of 1850
Daniel Webster
James Buchanan
John Breckenridge
John C. Calhoun
Missouri Compromise (Compromise of 1820)
Richmond, Virginia
The Election of 1860

Civil War Encyclopedia >> People - Other

Henry Clay was last changed on - May 21, 2007
Henry Clay was added in 2005



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