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Clay, Henry

World Encyclopedia

Clay, Henry (1777–1852) 

US statesman He served in both the House of Representatives (1811–14, 1815–21, 1823–25), several times as speaker, and in the Senate (1831–42, 1849–52). He was one of the ‘war hawks’ who favoured the War of 1812. He ran for president (1824), and when the election went to the House of Representatives, he threw his support behind the eventual winner, John Quincy Adams. One of the founders of the Whigs, he ran against Andrew Jackson (a bitter political enemy) In 1832. He ran for president again (1844) but was defeated by James Polk. Clay's last years in the Senate were spent trying to work out a compromise between the slave-owning states of the South and the free Northern states. The Compromise of 1850 was one result of those efforts.