Born on this day in Hanover County, Virginia, statesman Henry Clay (1777-1852), "The Great Pacificator," held the Union together during the troubled decades before the American Civil War.
"I have heard something said about allegiance to the South. I know no South, no North, no East, no West, to which I owe any allegiance," he once said.
A lawyer and orator, the charismatic leader had a distinguished career of over 40 years as a Kentucky legislator, congressman, speaker of the House, secretary of state, and senator. A nemesis to Andrew Jackson, Clay was a major creator of the political landscape of his time.
"Government is a trust, and the officers of the government are trustees," Clay explained. "Both the trust and the trustees are created for the benefit of the people."
Called the "Great Compromiser" because of his ability to negotiate compromises over the issue of slavery, Clay was unable to realize his life-long ambition to become President of the United States. He ran three times, failed, and famously declared, "I would rather be right than President."
Character is your most prized possession.