Henry Clay: The Man Who Would Be President

Henry Clay: The Man Who Would Be President

by James C. Klotter


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Charismatic, charming, and one of the best orators of his era, Henry Clay seemed to have it all. He offered a comprehensive plan of change for America, and he directed national affairs as Speaker of the House, as Secretary of State to John Quincy Adams—the man he put in office—and as acknowledged leader of the Whig party. As the broker of the Missouri Compromise and the Compromise of 1850, Henry Clay fought to keep a young nation united when westward expansion and slavery threatened to tear it apart. Yet, despite his talent and achievements, Henry Clay never became president. Three times he received Electoral College votes, twice more he sought his party's nomination, yet each time he was defeated. Alongside fellow senatorial greats Daniel Webster and John C. Calhoun, Clay was in the mix almost every moment from 1824 to 1848. Given his prominence, perhaps the years should be termed not the Jacksonian Era but rather the Age of Clay.

James C. Klotter uses new research and offers a more focused, nuanced explanation of Clay's programs and politics in order to answer to the question of why the man they called "The Great Rejected" never won the presidency but did win the accolades of history. Klotter's fresh outlook reveals that the best monument to Henry Clay is the fact that the United States remains one country, one nation, one example of a successful democracy, still working, still changing, still reflecting his spirit. The appeal of Henry Clay and his emphasis on compromise still resonate in a society seeking less partisanship and more efforts at conciliation.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780190498047
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 08/01/2018
Pages: 536
Sales rank: 629,512
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.60(d)

About the Author

James C. Klotter is Professor of History at Georgetown College and State Historian of Kentucky. The prize-winning author, coauthor, or editor of some eighteen books, he was the executive director of the Kentucky Historical Society for many years.

James Anderson Foster has narrated audiobooks for a variety of publishers, across nearly all genres-both fiction and nonfiction. In 2015, he was a finalist in three categories for the Society of Voice Arts and Sciences Voice Arts Awards (Mystery, Science Fiction, and Fantasy).

Table of Contents


1 Preparation
2 Politics
3 Personality
4 Programs
5 Presidential Candidate I
6 President Maker
7 Protagonists
8 Presidential Candidate II
9 Peculiar Institutions
10 Party
11 Presidential Candidate III
12 Planter and Paterfamilias
13 Presidential Candidate IV
14 Presidential Candidate V
15 Pacificator—and Peace
16 Postscript


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