The Powerful Henry Clay

Powerful Essays
Henry Clay was the first Speaker of the House that really helped to establish the position and increase the power. Clay served three terms as Speaker of the House and in those years demonstrated how his tactics were effective as well as successful. Henry Clay was personable, and his youth and assertiveness made him a popular choice for Speaker. Clay used his position to place his allies in important committees to achieve these goals. As Clay gained clout in the House of Representatives, he was able to introduce his American System and ideas founded in the American Colonization Society. Henry Clay’s greatest accomplishment as Speaker of the House was the drafting of the Missouri Compromise, which gained him the title of the Great Compromiser. Henry Clay became a very powerful, respected and effective Speaker of the House, and set a precedent for future Speakers.

Henry Clay entered the House of Representatives as a popular and aggressive man. March 4, 1811, Clay began his first term as Speaker of House with goals that inspired other congressmen. On the first day of his first term in the House of Representatives, Clay was elected Speaker which had never been done before, and has not happened since. Clay was young, intelligent and had a wit that drew people to him. He was nicknamed the “Western Star,” because many people felt he was destined for a bright future. These personality traits made Clay popular as Speaker and in turn he was able to accomplish many feats throughout his terms.

As a freshman Congressman, and Speaker of the House, Henry Clay pushed the limits and increased the power of the position, making it the second only to the president. Henry Clay’s initial acts as speaker were a premonition of his politica...

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...erican System. Kentucky: University Press of Kentucky, 2004.

Clay, Henry. The Papers of Henry Clay, 1797-1852. Edited by James Hopkins, Mary Hargreaves, Robert Seager II, Melba Porter Hay et al. 11 vols. University Press of Kentucky, 1959-1992.

Heironimus, Norval Chase, “The Missouri Compromise” (Indiana: M. Cullaton & Co, 1898).

Henry Clay, as quoted in Calvin Colton, “The Life, Correspondence, and Speeches of Henry Clay,” in The American System- Mr. Clay’s Internal Improvement Policy (Indiana: A. S. Barnes & Co) 428-445.

Henry Clay, as quoted in Daniel Mallory, “The life and speeches of the Hon. Henry Clay” in Speech on American Industry (Michigan: R. P. Bixby & Co, 1843), 507-529.

Remini, Robert Vincent. Henry Clay: Statesman for the Union. New York: W.W. Norton, 1991.

Schurz, Carl. Henry Clay, Volume 1. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1915.
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