I chose Henry Clay as the person who I think should have been president instead of these four other men. These other men were incompetent, they lacked leadership, and they each didnt have much support. None of them had much drive or motivation to be a good president, and as for a couple of them, they didnt have much political background at all. Henry Clay, on the other hand would have made a fantastic president instead of these four men. Even though he had already run for president three times, and lost, he still had the potential to be a great president. He had a vast background in politics. He had so much to do with what was going on that time in politics, it seem as if he never died (, from our pages of our history book that is). Henry Clay was a great man and I believe that he stood head-and-shoulders above the rest of the presidents of the 1850s. He was a great man who was secretary of state under John Quincy Adams and an unsuccessful candidate for the presidency in 1824, 1832, and 1844. He was one of the most popular and influential political leaders in American history. His genius in the art of compromise three times resolved bitter political conflicts that threatened to tear the nation apart, winning him the title The Great Pacificator.
Clay was born on April 12, 1777, in Hanover County, Virginia, to a middle-class family. After studying law with the eminent George Wythe, Clay, at the age of 20, moved to Lexington, Kentucky, where he developed a thriving practice. He was blessed with a quick mind, a flair for oratory, and an ability to charm both sexes with his easy, attractive manner. Clay, who was ambitious for worldly success, married into a wealthy, and socially prominent, family and soon gained entry into Kentucky’s most influential cliques. While still in his 20s, he was elected to the state legislature, in which he served for six years, until 1809.
Clay established his great reputation in the United States House of Representatives, where he served from time-to-time from 1811 to 1825. In his first term, he became one of the leading “War Hawks”: the young men whose rage against England helped bring about the War of 1812. Clay was selected as one of the lead people who in 1814 negotiated the Treaty of Ghent, ending that war.
In 1820-21 it was Clay above all who engineered the Missouri Compromise, that slowed a debate for equal balance between free and slave states. Although he himself was a slave owner, Clay’s views on slavery, as on most other issues, were moderate. In the presidential election of 1824, after his own candidacy had failed, Clay threw his support to John Quincy Adams, whom the House early in 1825 elected as the sixth president. When Adams named Clay secretary of state, his Jacksonian opponents yelled out, “corrupt bargain!” This accusation was unfair; however, Clay was haunted by it throughout his subsequent career.
Although Clay was a practical politician of flexible rather than rigid beliefs, he did emerge as the great champion of the “American System.” He called for a protective tariff in support of home manufactures, internal improvements (federal aid to local road and canal projects), a strong national bank, and distribution of the money earned of federal land sales to the states. Elected to the U.S. Senate in 1831, Clay served in that body until 1842 and again from 1849 until his death.
Perhaps the most heartbreaking event of Clay’s career was his close defeat in the presidential contest of 1844, when his reluctance to back the annexation of Texas cost him support in the South. Many believe that his greatest service to the nation came in 1850, when he helped win acceptance for a compromise that ended, at least temporarily, the threat of civil war over the issue of slavery in the new territories. He died in Washington, D.C., on June 29, 1852. Conclusively, although Clay only lived long enough to take presidency during the early part of the 50s, he still would have made a great president. His long time foot-in-the-door of the white house would only have given him a greater chance at becoming the great president that the other four 50s presidents were not.