BRIA 24 3 c Henry Clay: Compromise and Union - Constitutional Rights Foundation
Kentuckian Henry Clay held political office for almost 50 years. In , Congress passed and President Jackson signed into law the Tariff of . The Nullification Crisis The Sparknotes synopsis of the Crisis and its relationship to Jackson's. A timeline of Andrew Jackson from the U.S. Senate through the presidency of the In Washington, appointed to Senate committees on foreign relations and military affairs. Mar. Receives gold medal from Congress for War of service. Jackson soon charges a "corrupt bargain" as Adams-backer Henry Clay is. Jackson was the first president to suffer this formal. the election of , between Jackson, a Democrat, and Whig (Republican) Henry Clay.
His friends marveled at his ability to gather the votes of House members for laws he wanted passed. His enemies called him arrogant and a dictator. InMissouri, part of the Louisiana Purchaseapplied for admission to the Union as a slave state. This would have upset the equal balance of free and slave states in the Union.
During the debate over statehood for Missouri, however, Maine applied for admission to the Union as a free state. In Februarythe Senate voted for a bill to approve the admission of both Missouri and Maine to the Union. The senators also passed an amendment to the bill that prohibited slavery in the Louisiana Purchase territory north of 36 degrees and 30 minutes latitude with the exception of Missouri.
Southerners in the House firmly opposed the Senate bill because it closed much of the West to slavery. Many Northerners rejected the bill because it added a slave state and seemingly opened the door for slavery to expand someday south of the 36—30 line.
As speaker of the House, Clay formed a committee with him as chairman. He made sure that a majority of the committee favored reaching a compromise. The committee recommended accepting the Senate action but dividing it into three separate bills: Admitting Missouri with no restriction on slavery. Admitting Maine as a free state. Prohibiting slavery north of 36—30 latitude, except for Missouri. This was a brilliant move by Clay. If the House members had voted on one unified bill, the opponents of each part probably would have banded together to defeat it.
By the House members voting for each part separately, Clay divided their votes. On March 3,the House passed the three bills that made up the compromise.
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Three days later, President James Monroe signed the bills into law, now known as the Missouri Compromise. The crisis, however, did not end there. In writing their state constitution, a condition for admission to the Union, resentful Missourians authorized their legislature to bar any free blacks from entering their state. The anti-slave Northerners were enraged and threatened to repeal the Missouri Compromise, while some Southerners talked of seceding from the Union if this happened.
Members of the House again turned to Clay, who was not then serving as speaker of the House. Clay formed and headed another committee, and he worked two weeks arguing and pleading with both sides to compromise. Following approval by the Senate, Missouri accepted this condition for its admission to the Union.
On August 10,President Monroe declared Missouri the 24th state. For the second time, Clay had kept the Union together with a compromise.
None of the candidates won a majority of electoral votes. Under the 12th Amendment, the House of Representatives had to decide who would be president among the top three vote getters. This eliminated Clay since he had received the fewest electoral votes of the four candidates. Clay ignored instructions from the Kentucky state legislature to vote for Jackson and supported Adams, who won a majority of House votes and became president.
In fact, Adams did appoint Clay secretary of state, but he strongly denied this was part of any secret deal. In the Senate, Clay led the opposition against Jackson, who had finally won the presidency in Jackson Democrats and National Republicans.
Clay joined the National Republican Party and ran as its candidate for president against Jackson in Jackson crushed him at the polls. He argued for a national bank opposed by Jackson to coordinate the financing of internal improvements such as new roads, canals, and harbors.
These tariffs protected American industries from foreign competition. They generally had the effect of keeping prices of goods manufactured in other countries higher than they would have been if no tariffs were in place. Clay argued that these tariffs were necessary to build up American manufacturing and make the United States a strong economic power in the world.
The North, where most industry was developing, favored protective tariffs. The South and the frontier West opposed them because these regions were mostly made up of farmers who complained that the tariffs caused manufactured goods to cost too much.
InCongress passed and President Jackson signed into law the Tariff of This law reduced tariffs somewhat but not enough for South Carolina.
Many in the state blamed tariffs for their economic troubles. In effect, the South Carolina state legislature nullified vetoed a law passed by Congress. This set off a crisis over whether the states had the authority under the Constitution to nullify acts of Congress. South Carolina threatened secession from the Union if the federal government attempted to enforce the protective tariffs in states that rejected them. The possibility of civil war loomed. Henry Clay, a strong protectionist himself, viewed the threat of disunion and war as the greater danger facing the nation.
Calhoun of South Carolina. After a month, Clay reached agreement between Webster and Calhoun on a new compromise tariff law. The law would allow the existing protective tariffs to continue for almost 10 more years. Intariff rates would drop sharply to provide just enough revenue to pay for federal government operations.
Thus the North would have a decade to expand and strengthen its protected industries. Afterward, the South would benefit when the United States abandoned protective tariffs altogether.
Henry Clay and Slavery Henry Clay owned as many as 60 slaves, thought of them as property, and held that slavery should be a matter for the states to decide. He also believed that the white and black races could never live together as equals. Yet, Clay condemned slavery as an evil curse.
He blamed Great Britain for introducing slavery into the American colonies and despaired it might never be uprooted. He recognized the contradiction between slavery and the ideals expressed in the Declaration of Independence. Most important, he feared slavery would rip apart the Union.
Clay was a young member of the House of Representatives in when he helped form the American Colonization Society.
Clay freed some of his slaves during his lifetime and emancipated the rest in his will. A key election issue was the annexation of Texas as a state, which Clay opposed because he feared it would lead to war with Mexico. During his campaign for president, Polk championed admitting Texas to the Union. He won the election, handing Clay his third defeat for president. Texas became a state a few days before Polk took office in Because nobody had received a majority of votes in the electoral college, the House of Representatives had to choose between the top two candidates.
After losing the Presidency to Andrew Jackson inJohn Quincy Adams was elected to the House of Representatives where he served until his death in Henry Clay, the speaker of the House of Representatives, now held a decisive position.
As a presidential candidate himself in he finished fourth in the electoral collegeClay had led some of the strongest attacks against Jackson.
Presidency | Andrew Jackson's Time in Office as President
In return Adams named Clay as his secretary of state, a position that had been the stepping-stone to the presidency for the previous four executives. This arrangement, however, hardly proved beneficial for either Adams or Clay. Denounced immediately as a "corrupt bargain" by supporters of Jackson, the antagonistic presidential race of began practically before Adams even took office.
To Jacksonians the Adams-Clay alliance symbolized a corrupt system where elite insiders pursued their own interests without heeding the will of the people. The Jacksonians, of course, overstated their case; after all, Jackson fell far short of a majority in the general vote in Nevertheless, when the Adams administration continued to favor a strong federal role in economic development, Jacksonians denounced their political enemies as using government favors to reward their friends and economic elites.
By contrast, Jackson presented himself as a champion of the common man and by doing so furthered the democratization of American politics. John Quincy Adams John Quincy Adams was the last President to serve before Andrew Jackson turned the American political process upside-down with his popular sovereignty. It even took a "corrupt bargain" to get Adams in office. Read about the son of John Adams on this well-written and in-depth site presented by americanpresidents.