American Statesmen: Secretaries of State from John Jay to Colin Powell

By Edward S. Mihalkanin | Go to book overview

HENRY CLAY (1777-1852)

Served 1825-1829

Appointed by President John Quincy Adams

Democratic-Republican

Henry Clay is best known as a perennial contender for the presidency between 1824 and 1850 and as a giant in the House of Representatives and the Senate between 1808 and 1852. His chief claims to fame stem from his advocacy of the “American System, ” an elaborate nationalistic program that included protectionism, federal support for internal improvements, and a national bank; his instrumental role in ending bitter sectional controversies in 1833 over Southern nullification of the Tariff of 1828 and in 1850 over the admission of California and organization of territories acquired from Mexico; and his powerful championship of Western interests.

Clay's prominence in domestic affairs has all but obscured his important involvement in debates on U.S. foreign policy before he became secretary of state and has shrouded his activities as secretary. Before the War of 1812, Clay was a vehement advocate of war with Britain. Between 1815 and 1824, he was an eloquent champion of the recognition of the new states of Latin America. He also joined Daniel Webster in calling for active support for the Greeks in their struggle against Ottoman rule. Although his involvement in actual diplomacy had been restricted to service as a peace negotiator with Albert Gallatin and John Quincy Adams at Ghent, during these years Clay developed a sophisticated and innovative foreign policy program. His prominent position in Congress and leading role in foreign policy debates made his selection to head the Department of State both plausible and legitimate.

Clay's appointment aroused bitter partisan controversy, and his decision to accept the appointment in the Adams administration was a serious political mistake from which he never fully recovered. Clay hoped both to make a major contribution to U.S. foreign policy and to advance his chances for the presidency. He accomplished neither, and his years at the Department of Sate were, perhaps, the most unhappy and unsuccessful period of his political career.

Clay was born on April 12, 1777, near Richmond in Hanover County, Virginia. His formal education was scanty, but with the encouragement of the brilliant legal

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American Statesmen: Secretaries of State from John Jay to Colin Powell
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Credo vii
  • Contents ix
  • Preface xiii
  • Acknowledgments xvii
  • Introduction xix
  • Dean Acheson (1893-1971) 1
  • John Quincy Adams (1767-1848) 20
  • Madeleine Albright (1937-) 34
  • Robert Bacon (1860-1919) 41
  • James Baker III (1930-) 43
  • Thomas F. Bayard (1828-1898) 51
  • Jeremiah S. Black (1810-1883) 58
  • James G. Blaine (1830-1893) 61
  • William Jennings Bryan (1860-1925) 74
  • James Buchanan (1791-1868) 83
  • James F. Byrnes (1879-1972) 88
  • John C. Calhoun (1782-1850) 98
  • Lewis Cass (1782-1866) 105
  • Warren Christopher (1925-) 116
  • Henry Clay (1777-1852) 123
  • John M. Clayton (1796-1856) 135
  • Bainbridge Colby (1869-1950) 141
  • William R. Day (1849-1923) 149
  • John Foster Dulles (1888-1959) 163
  • Lawrence S. Eagleburger (1930-) 179
  • William M. Evarts (1818-1901) 182
  • Edward Everett (1794-1865) 188
  • Hamilton Fish (1808-1893) 191
  • John Forsyth (1780-1841) 200
  • John W. Foster (1836-1917) 213
  • Frederick T. Frelinghuysen (1817-1885) 220
  • Walter Q. Gresham (1832-1895) 226
  • Alexander M. Haig, Jr. (1924-) 234
  • John Hay (1838-1905) Served 1898-1905 238
  • Christian Herter (1895-1966) 247
  • Charles Evans Hughes (1862-1948) 254
  • Cordell Hull (1871-1955) 263
  • John Jay (1745-1829) 273
  • Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) 279
  • Frank B. Kellogg (1856-1937) 293
  • Henry Kissinger (1923-) 299
  • Philander C. Knox (1853-1921) 307
  • Robert Lansing (1864-1928) 314
  • Hugh S. LegarÉ (1797-1843) 325
  • Edward Livingston (1764-1836) 328
  • James Madison (1751-1836) 334
  • William L. Marcy (1786-1857) 348
  • George C. Marshall (1880-1959) 351
  • Bibliographical Essay 363
  • John Marshall (1755-1835) 364
  • Louis Mclane (1786-1857) 368
  • James Monroe (1758-1831) 373
  • Edmund S. Muskie (1914-1996) 389
  • Richard Olney (1835-1917) 393
  • Timothy Pickering (1745-1829) 400
  • Colin Powell (1937-) 406
  • Edmund Randolph (1753-1813) 416
  • William P. Rogers (1913-2001) 421
  • Elihu Root (1845-1937) 430
  • Dean Rusk (1909-1994) 443
  • William H. Seward (1801-1872) 450
  • John Sherman (1823-1900) 466
  • George P. Shultz (1920-) 472
  • Robert Smith (1757-1842) 478
  • Edward R. Stettinius, Jr. (1900-1949) 484
  • Henry L. Stimson (1867-1950) 491
  • Abel P. Upshur (1790-1844) 498
  • Martin Van Buren (1782-1862) 504
  • Bibliographical Essay 511
  • Cyrus Vance (1917-2002) 512
  • Elihu B. Washburne (1816-1887) 521
  • Daniel Webster (1782-1852) 523
  • List of Contributors 535
  • Quick Reference Chronology of Secretaries of State 537
  • Index 541
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