Henry Clay: America's Greatest Statesman

Henry Clay: America's Greatest Statesman

Harlow G. Unger

Language: English

Pages: 334

ISBN: 2:00352238

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


A compelling new biography of America's most powerful Speaker of the House, who held the divided nation together for three decades and who was Lincoln's guiding light

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war with Britain. 1813—Daughter Eliza Brown born. 1814—Serves on US Peace Commission, Ghent, Belgium. 1815—Negotiates trade agreement with Britain; reelected House Speaker. 1816—Helps found American Colonization Society; daughter Laura born, dies ten weeks later. 1817—Calls for Latin America independence; son James Brown born. 1819—Assails General Andrew Jackson in House speech. 1820—1821—Engineers Missouri Compromise; resigns as Speaker; son John Morrison born. 1824—Describes “American

to their ending their depredations against American shipping. But Clay’s words echoed across the West and along the southern and northern frontiers. In the summer of 1810 American settlers in Spanish-held West Florida took Clay’s words to heart and rebelled. After seizing Baton Rouge, they declared independence from Spain and asked the United States to annex their new state. President Madison agreed, and Congress supported him, with Clay calling for still greater US expansion: “I hope to see,

secretary of the Treasury, Albert Gallatin, proposed a path around the impasse: they would simply declare the war ended and relegate demands of both nations to an arbitration commission to be set up at a later date. 16. Agreement at Ghent. Admiral Lord Gambier, Britain’s chief negotiator, holds the treaty ending the Anglo-American War if 1812 and shakes hands with John Quincy Adams, America’s chief negotiator. Henry Clay is seated on the right at the rear. (From The Signing of the Treaty at

captured Santa Anna. Although the Mexican leader signed a peace treaty and pledged to secure Mexican recognition of Texan independence, the Mexican Congress repudiated both actions. Interim Texas “President” David G. Burnet wrote to Henry Clay, announcing his state’s “final separation from the miserable . . . government of Mexico.” He asked Clay, as chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, to support Texas independence and annexation by the United States. Burnet explained “this

presidential policy. Clay had put it, “If anyone desires to know the leading and paramount object of my public life, the preservation of the Union will furnish him the key.”5 As he did throughout his life, Lincoln relied on Clay’s words to guide him: My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves, I would do it, and if I

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