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Henry Clay: A Resource Guide

Known as “the Great Compromiser”, Henry Clay represented Kentucky in both the U.S. Senate and in the House of Representatives. This guide compiles digital materials at the Library of Congress, external websites, and a selected print bibliography.


The digital collections of the Library of Congress contain a wide variety of material associated with Henry Clay. Born in Hanover County, Virginia, on April 12, 1777, Clay had a long political career in the first half of the nineteenth century, serving in the Kentucky House of Representatives, U.S. House of Representatives (1811-21 and 1823-25), and U.S. Senate (1806-07, 1810-11, 1831-42, and 1849-52). He also served as secretary of state (1825-29) during the presidency of John Quincy Adams. Known as “the Great Compromiser”, Clay played a pivotal role in negotiating the Missouri Compromise of 1820 and the Compromise of 1850. He ran for president unsuccessfully on three occasions, losing the presidential elections of 1824, 1832, and 1844.

This resource guide compiles links to digital materials related to Clay such as manuscripts, letters, broadsides, government documents, and images that are available throughout the Library of Congress website. In addition, it provides links to external websites focusing on Clay and a bibliography containing selected works for both a general audience and younger readers.