• synonyms

Clay, Henry

A Whig political leader of the early nineteenth century known for his efforts to keep the United States one nation despite sharp controversy among Americans over slavery. Clay represented Kentucky, first in the House of Representatives and then in the Senate. He was known as the “Great Pacificator” because of his prominent role in producing the Missouri Compromise and the Compromise of 1850.

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Clay ran unsuccessfully for president three times. He once said in a speech, “I would rather be right than be president.”
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.