The epic life and times of one of the most important political figures in our history He was the Great Compromiser, a canny and colorful legislator and leader whose life mirrors the story of America from its founding until the eve of the Civil War Speaker of the House, senator, secretary of state, five time presidential candidate, and idol to the young Abraham Lincoln, HThe epic life and times of one of the most important political figures in our history He was the Great Compromiser, a canny and colorful legislator and leader whose life mirrors the story of America from its founding until the eve of the Civil War Speaker of the House, senator, secretary of state, five time presidential candidate, and idol to the young Abraham Lincoln, Henry Clay is captured in full at last in this rich and sweeping biography that vividly portrays all the drama of his times.David S Heidler and Jeanne T Heidler present Clay in his early years as a precocious, witty, and optimistic Virginia boy, raised on a farm, who at the age of twenty transformed himself from bumpkin to attorney a shrewd and sincere defender of the ordinary man who would be his eventual political base The authors reveal Clay s tumultuous career in Washington, one that transformed the capital and the country Nicknamed the Western Star, Clay became the youngest Speaker of the House shortly before the War of 1812 and transformed that position into one of unprecedented power Then, as a senator, he joined and sometimes fought John Calhoun and Daniel Webster to push through crucial legislation affecting everything from slavery to banking Commonly regarded as the greatest U.S senator in history, Clay served under ten presidents and overshadowed most of them, with the notable exception of his archrival Andrew Jackson Clay ran unsuccessfully for president five times, and his participation in the deadlocked election of 1824 brought about the Corrupt Bargain with John Quincy Adams that made Clay secretary of state and haunted him for the rest of his career As no other book, Henry Clay humanizes Clay s marriage to plain, wealthy Lucretia Hart, a union rud to be mercenary on his part but that lasted fifty three years and produced eleven children.Featuring an inimitable supporting cast including Aaron Burr, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, James Polk, and Abraham Lincoln, Henry Clay is beautifully written and replete with fresh anecdotes and insights But it is Henry Clay who often rises above them all Horse trader and risk taker, arm twister and joke teller, Clay was the consummate politician who gave ground, made deals, and changed the lives of millions His life is an astounding tale and here superbly told.
Henry Clay The Essential American The epic life and times of one of the most important political figures in our history He was the Great Compromiser a canny and colorful legislator and leader whose life mirrors the story of America f
I started reading this book because in my high school AP US history class, it seemed that Henry Clay s name popped up daily for a solid six weeks but as a person he was never really talked about other than an old geezer who started the anti Jackson faction and promoted the American System What a travesty Reading the Heidlers book, I have been amazed at the depth and breadth of Clay s associations and accomplishments, beginning as an anti Adams Republican in 1800 to the patriotic old man who esse [...]
The Essential American is Henry Clay He is a former Speaker of the House, Senator, Secretary of State and Presidential Candidate He also started the Whig Party The Whig Party preceded the Republican Party as the Democratic Party s main political rival party Henry Clay was fortunate to have been mentored by one of the 19th Century s greatest law professors George Wythe Wythe trained Clay to be an outstanding lawyer Clay left Wythe s tutelage in Virginia and moved to Lexington, Kentucky where he m [...]
Henry Clay, 1777 1852 , is a name many of us somewhat recognize from 19th Century U.S politics He was The Great Compromiser the mastermind behind both The Compromise of 1820 and of 1850, both of which avoided a national calamity With Daniel Webster of Massachusetts, and South Carolina s John C Calhoun, Clay was part of the Great Triumvirate This trio of powerhouse politicians, with their spellbinding oratory, was the bridge between the Founding Fathers and the men who brought about the dissoluti [...]
Extraordinarily well written, moving biography Interestingly, I now am impressed with the authors and less impressed I am by Henry Clay My prior take came from Howe s magisterial history of the first half of 19th Century in the Oxford series on American History But there s to the story.It turns out Clay didn t come from poverty that the Missouri Compromise was not Clay s idea, though he supported and defended it thereafter And though many of parameters were set by Clay in introducing what star [...]
There is no better indicator that American politics is about personalities, less about issues or philosophies, than the formation of our two party system in the first half of the nineteenth century In Andrew Jackson s presidential runs, and Martin Van Buren s machinations to construct a cohesive national organization based on the Old Hickory cult of personality, we find the beginnings of the Democratic party It was a Democratic party very different from today s, one that appealed to the working [...]
Henry Clay was involved in politics from the time of President John Adams 2 until President Millard Fill 13 He served in the Senate even before he was legally old enough , the House of Representatives most of the time as Speaker , and as Secretary of State to John Quincy Adams despite holding differing political views He cast such a long shadow of influence over the nation that Abraham Lincoln later cited him as one of his greatest influences and heroes He was the heart and soul of the Whig part [...]
This was an excellent, detailed, engrossing biography of a statesman of whom I knew nothing I recall, from school days, hearing of the Clay Webster Calhoun triumvirate in the 19th century Congress But I m pretty shaky on US history between the War of 1812 and the Civil War So when I had a chance to purchase this book cheaply on Kindle, I jumped at it and read it slowly over a month.The book is long and detailed, but still fascinating Without writing fiction, the author manages to communicate the [...]
The subtitle of this book describes Clay as the essential American How was this so Certainly his parliamentary skills and skill in achieving compromise was considered an essential quality in a country preparing to tear itself apart over slavery What was essentially American about Clay in my reading of this biography was his ability to think of the country as a whole whether in terms of internal improvements or in terms of the problem of slavery Although representing the upper south, he sought to [...]
The Heidler Mr Mrs biography is the third biography of Henry Clay I ve read over the past 25 years, and was my favorite The book goes into great details re Clay s personal life one is deeply saddened reading of his loss of 6 daughters and a son who died in war One also picks up an appreciation for the closeness of Clay s marriage relationship with his wife Lucretia, and gets a sense of the sacrifices made as for many years his wife stayed behind in Kentucky while he spent half the year in Washin [...]
As much a history of the country as a biography of the man, this book traces the forces at work in the period from the end of the revolutionary era to the years just preceding the Civil War The politics were heady, nasty, personal the persona were concerned with both regional and national agendas With no precedents available for many decisions, the government in many cases had to define constitutional issues Meantime, Clay struggles to preserve the Union, searches for compromises and sometimes s [...]
This book started off pretty well, but then got bogged down in Henry Clay s politics This would be a good book if all the reader wanted to know was about Clay s political views However, I like biographies that explore the person s relationships with other people, the person s quirks, and the person s failings that all contribute that person s humanity For example, I liked the chapter that dealt with Clay s defense of Aaron Burr Clay thought Burr was an ok guy until after the trial was over and C [...]
I was drawn to this book out of curiosity All the Abraham Lincoln books I ve read mention prominently his admiration for Henry Clay and I wanted to find out why It was a very thorough biography perhaps thorough than necessary I found it overwrought in its writing style The authors could have eliminated about 100 pages had they not elaborated on topics and incidents that had no bearing on the man s political career I also felt that in their desire to paint an objective portrait of the man, they [...]
Henry Clay is a name that pops up quite a bit in your American History classes but with only the big events of his era typically being covered, this biography does a great job in explaining the twisted threads that tied the events together.Clay had to have a big ego to achieve all that he did however, seeing his interaction with the other big egos of the day shows the impact that these incredible men had on the early years of our country I really enjoyed reading about some of our presidents and [...]
David and Jeanne Heidler s book is a useful narrative account of Clay s political career, one defined by his longtime and unsuccessful quest for the presidency In clear language they explain well the political battles of the era, conveying a good sense of the issues and personalities involved Yet there is little within its pages that is new, and in many respects the book s coverage of Clay s life is inferior to that of Robert Remini s Henry Clay Statesman for the Union Readers seeking to learn a [...]
I had hoped that this book would be a bit interesting to read I was bored at times, which can happen when you are reading history unless you re reading David McCullough or Doris Kearns Goodwin Anyway, I knew very little about Henry Clay I remembered just a bit about him from High School history, not that they mentioned him much in High School history There is no doubt that he was a giant of his age, and will always be one of those Senators that history ranks right at the top.
Didn t make it all the way through this one I checked the book out from my local library because I was interested in learning about Henry Clay, a curiosity I developed while reading Lincoln The Biography of a Writer I got through 150 plus pages of the book, which is well written, but not exactly a page turner Finding myself only 1 3 of the way through Clay s political career and 300 pages shy of finishing the book, I decided to cut bait Way too dense of a biography for me.
While I cannot claim to have finished this, it wasn t because it was not interesting Henry Clay had amazing accomplishments considering the era he lived in He amassed a lot of wealth and significantly influenced the direction of this country The info presented here is factual, but is also a powerful story of a man, a political era, and an important historical time Will appeal to history buffs a lot.
The subject makes this book interesting much than the quality of the prose Probably the greatest American figure that most Americans don t know much about A perrenial presidential candidate and giant of the senate who was instrumental in delaying the advent of the Civil War Would probably have been much better in the hands of a master historian biographer such as William Manchester.
As a Jackson scholar once said I am a Jackson man with feet of Clay.
Henry Clay is one of those figures in our nation s history whose name, mentioned to one s adult companions, will probably spark, at most, vague memories from high school years, with little specific recollection of his role or accomplishments A man whose political career spanned almost 50 years, beginning with appointment to Kentucky s state assembly and a brief interim Senate stint during the Jefferson administration, all the way to a central role in crafting the Compromise of 1850, Clay s life [...]
The book starts off with Henry Clay s funeral procession from DC to Balti to NYC thru the Hudson Valley into Buffalo by boat to Cleveland and down thru Ohio Valley into Kentucky A nine day procession with his son and many US congressmen There after the book follows Clay s previous family generations briefly for background into Henry s parting with his mother and her new husband one year after his father John Clay died Henry moved at age 14 from the VA countryside into Richmond His second job bei [...]
I checked this book out of the local library knowing next to nothing of Henry Clay This book not only gave me a tremendous appreciation for the life and accomplishments of the man but also filled a significant gap in my knowledge of American history specifically the period between the presidencies of Martin Van Buren and Millard Fill Clay was perhaps the most influential Speaker of the House in American History, de facto founder of the Whig Party, Secretary of State, Senator, and three time cont [...]
I remember hearing the name of Henry Clay in my high school US History class, and as I have read books on presidents like Jackson, Polk, J Q Adams, Lincoln and Grant, his name has come up frequently It seems like he ran for president a lot, and he always wound up losing So, after leaving this book on my wish list for a few months, I decided the time had come to dig a little deeper, and am I glad I did The timing couldn t have been better, because in the story of Henry Clay, I received a comprehe [...]
As someone with a degree in US history, I always had a great respect and admiration for Henry Clay, but after reading this book it has taken that respect and admiration to a whole other level Henry Clay is exactly the kind of statesman that the US is in dire need of with the divisive political climate of today Even though he was often defeated, vilified, and betrayed, he never failed to stand by his principles with a grace and dignity that many of his contemporaries lacked This is not an easy re [...]
A very interesting look at the life of one of the politicians who become a statesmen during some of the most explosive and impactful years in the United States Henry Clay was a child during the American Revolution came to age during the Early Republic, entered politics and helped start the War of 1812 and never left until his death in 1852 Clay was not only involved in every major political event, from the War of 1812 to the Compromise of 1850, but also shaped them David S Heidler portrays Clay [...]
An Ideologue Of The CenterDavid and Jeanne Heidler use the phrase ideologue of the center to describe Henry Clay in their biography Henry Clay, the Essential American The Heidlers borrow this term from Daniel Walker Howe s recent study of pre Civil War America, What Hath God Wrought The Transformation of America, 1815 1848 Oxford History of the United States , and they share much of Walker s sympathy with Clay The Heidlers adopt the term in the context of discussing Clay s American System , a na [...]
This was an interesting read and helped me to better understand how the U.S Congress works today Henry Clay was one of the last people to serve in Congress who had a foot in both worlds before the rise of political parties and after If you think politics are dirty now you will be surprised at how much worse it was then Vicious lies were propagated about your opponent because you needed to win at all costs Why That was the only way you could be in a position to further your party s agenda I now s [...]
Detailed life of the American statesman who three times came up short for the Presidency The book details key challenge he faced as a Senator, Speaker of the House, Treaty Ambassador in Europe, and as Secretary of State Only wish the book went into detail of his involvement in forming the Whig Party.
The research done on this book was phenomenal It went into the book Lots of details and how the Congress bickered and passed legislation Opinion The Congress has not improved but most importantly it seems about the same as the 1830 s Those people up there have learned nothing.
For the record, contrary to , Jeanne T Heidler a professor at the Air Force Academy, co authored the book.