By David S. Heidler
He used to be the good Compromiser, a canny and colourful legislator whose existence mirrors the tale of the United States from its founding till the eve of the Civil warfare. Speaker of the home, senator, secretary of country, five-time presidential candidate, and idol to the younger Abraham Lincoln, Henry Clay is captured in complete ultimately during this wealthy and sweeping biography.
David S. Heidler and Jeanne T. Heidler current Clay in his early years as a precocious, witty, and positive Virginia farm boy who on the age of twenty remodeled himself into an legal professional. The authors demonstrate Clay’s tumultuous occupation in Washington, together with his participation within the deadlocked election of 1824 that haunted him for the remainder of his occupation, and shine new mild on Clay’s marriage to straightforward, prosperous Lucretia Hart, a union that lasted fifty-three years and produced 11 children.
Featuring an inimitable helping solid together with Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and Abraham Lincoln, Henry Clay is superbly written and replete with clean anecdotes and insights. Horse dealer and threat taker, arm tornado and funny story teller, Henry Clay used to be the consummate flesh presser who gave floor, made bargains, and adjusted the lives of hundreds of thousands.
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Extra info for Henry Clay: The Essential American
Americans now call such wonders “infrastructure,” but Clay’s generation called them internal improvements. He had been their constant champion through both private initiative and public subsidies. Internal improvements, he preached, could speed American commerce, bolster American security, refine life on rough farmsteads, transform remote villages into thriving townships. With such encouragement, engineers had scoured harbors and dredged rivers. Where there were no rivers, they dug them in the form of canals that could float keelboats heavy with freight and passengers into the interior.
13 The Reverend Dr. Butler was Clay’s friend. He performed the service as much from affection for the deceased as from his official duty as the Senate’s chaplain. He began by noting how different people would remember different Henry Clays. There was the Clay of youth and ambition, the Clay of great accomplishment and renown, the Clay of the sickroom, feeble but cheerful, and the Clay who rose to defend the beleaguered Union. But there was also the Henry Clay who had embodied all that was great and good about America.
The telegraph sent the news across the country, and bells began to ring in cities and towns from the Atlantic coast to the deep interior. One of those first telegrams was sent to Lexington, Kentucky: “My father is no more. ”1 Soon that message was speeding to the house nearby called Ashland, where an old woman at last had the hard news she had been expecting for months. Her husband of more than fifty years was dead. Lucretia Clay was a widow. The bells in Lexington were already ringing. Henry Clay was dead.