Henry Clay was born and educated in Virginia but rose to political prominence in Kentucky, where he quickly became renowned for his oratory skills. Clay became a member of the Kentucky House of Representatives in 1803 and was elected to the United States Senate in 1806. Clay was subsequently elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, where he quickly rose to become speaker of the House at the young age of 34. He later served subsequent terms in the U.S. Senate and also served as secretary of state under President John Quincy Adams.
Clay is often remembered as the “great compromiser,” particularly for his role in advocating for the Compromise of 1850, which helped maintain the Union and temporarily stave off the sectional tensions that would culminate in the U.S. Civil War. As successful as Clay was in Congress, he was ultimately unsuccessful in his ambition to become president, having sought the presidency on three occasions.
United States Senate. Henry Clay: A Featured Biography. https://www.senate.gov/senators/FeaturedBios/Featured_Bio_Clay.htm
Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Henry Clay. https://bioguide.congress.gov/search/bio/C000482
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