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Henry Clay (1777 – 1852)


Leading American statesman and orator who served in both the House of Representatives and Senate.
Henry Clay
You're unhappy. I'm unhappy too. Have you heard of Henry Clay? He was the Great Compromiser. A good compromise is when both parties are dissatisfied, and I think that's what we have here.
Clay quotes
All religions united with government are more or less inimical to liberty. All, separated from government, are compatible with liberty.
Clay
The time will come when Winter will ask you what you were doing all Summer.




Clay Henry quotes
In all cases where incidental powers are acted upon, the principal and incidental ought to be congenial with each other, and partake of a common nature. The incidental power ought to be strictly subordinate and limited to the end proposed to be obtained by the specified power. In other words, under the name of accomplishing one object which is specified, the power implied ought not to be made to embrace other objects, which are not specified in the constitution.
Clay Henry
It consists in the genius of the nation, which is prone to peace; in that desire to arrange, by friendly negotiation, our disputes with all nations…. But a new state of things has arisen: negotiation has become hopeless. The power with whom it was to be conducted, if not annihilated, is in the situation that precludes it; and the subject-matter of it is in danger of being snatched forever from our power. Longer delay would be construed into a dereliction of our right, and would amount to a treachery to ourselves.
Henry Clay quotes
I am not, sir, in favor of cherishing the passion of conquest. I am permitted … to indulge the hope of seeing, ere long, the new United States, (if you will allow me the expression,) embracing not only the old ….
Henry Clay
There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured with what is right in America.
Clay Henry quotes
The Constitution of the United States was made not merely for the generation that then existed, but for posterity—unlimited, undefined, endless, perpetual posterity.
Clay
Thus, Clay must suffer with posterity incapable of hearing the varied intonations of his ever-pleasing voice, or of seeing his gesticulations, his rising upon his toes, his stamp of the foot, his march down the aisles until his long fingers would almost touch the president’s desk, and his backward tread to his seat, all the while speaking; his shake of the head, his dangling hair, and his audience in the galleries rising and leaning over as if to catch every syllable.
Clay Henry
What is the nature of this government? It is emphatically federal, vested with an aggregate of special powers for general purposes, conceded by existing sovereignties, who have themselves retained what is not so conceded. It is said that there are cases in which it must act on implied powers. This is not controverted, but the implication must be necessary, and obviously flow from enumerated power with which it is allied.
Henry Clay
The gentleman cannot have forgotten his own sentiment, uttered even on the floor of this House, "Peaceably if we can, forcibly if we must."




Henry Clay quotes
An oppressed people are authorized, whenever they can, to rise and break their fetters.
Henry Clay
My friends are not worth the powder and shot it would take to kill them!... If there were two Henry Clays, one of them would make the other President of the United States!... It is a diabolical intrigue, I know now, which has betrayed me. I am the most unfortunate man in the history of parties: always run by my friends when sure to be defeated, and now betrayed for a nomination when I, or any one, would be sure of an election.
Clay quotes
Sir, if you wish to avoid foreign commerce; give up all your prosperity. It is the thing protected, not the instrument of protection, that involves you in war. Commerce engenders collision, collision war, and war, the argument supposes, leads to despotism. Would the councils of that statesman be deemed who would recommend that the nation should be unarmed—that in the art of war, the material spirit, and martial exercises, should be prohibited—…—and that the great body of the people should be taught that the national happiness was to be found in perpetual peace alone? No, sir.
Clay Henry
Of all the properties which belong to honorable men, not one is so highly prized as that of character.
Clay Henry quotes
It is much more important that we unite, harmonize and improve what we have than attempt to acquire more.
Henry Clay
Precedents deliberately established by wise men are entitled to great weight. They are evidence of truth, but only evidence...But a solitary precedent...which has never been reexamined, cannot be conclusive.
Henry Clay quotes
It is totally unnecessary for the gentleman to remind me of my coming from a slaveholding state. I know whence I came, and I know my duty, and I am ready to submit to any responsibility which belongs to me as a senator from a slaveholding state. I have heard something said on this and a former occasion about allegiance to the South. I know no South, no North, no East, no West, to which I owe any allegiance. I owe allegiance to two sovereignty, and only two: one is the sovereignty of this Union, and the other is the sovereignty of the state of Kentucky. My allegiance is to this Union and to my state; but if gentlemen suppose they can exact from me an acknowledgement of allegiance to any ideal or future contemplated confederacy of the South, I here declare that I owe no allegiance to it; nor will I, for one, come under any such allegiance if I can avoid it.
Henry Clay
I have no commiseration for princes. My sympathies are reserved for the great mass of mankind ….
Clay Henry
Impart additional strength to our happy Union.?Diversified as are the interests of its various parts, how admirably do they harmonize and blend together!?We have only to make a proper use of the bounties spread before us, to render us prosperous and powerful.


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