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Henry Clay: A Featured Biography

Henry Clay by Allyn Cox

Henry Clay of Kentucky (1777-1852), closely associated with the "Golden Era" of the Senate, was one member of a "Great Triumvirate"--along with Daniel Webster and John C. Calhoun--that made an indelible mark on Senate history. As senator, Speaker of the House, and secretary of state, Clay enjoyed a distinguished political career, even though he never attained his greatest desire--the presidency. Clay's leadership guided a fragile Union through several critical impasses before the breakdown of such compromises resulted in Civil War. Although Clay earned  titles such as "The Great Compromiser" and "The Great Pacificator," he was also a shrewd and ambitious politician with some powerful enemies, notably President Andrew Jackson. In 1833 Clay orchestrated Jackson's censure . When Clay died in 1852, a great Senate voice was silenced and an era ended. Clay became the first person honored by a funeral ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda.


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Related Art: Henry Clay
Senate art depicting Henry Clay.