This Man May Be The Greatest Politician You’ve Never Heard Of

Henry Clay

Author Harlow Unger speaks with Detroit Today host Stephen Henderson about Henry Clay, who was Speaker of the United States House intermittently from 1811 through 1825. Unger says the Kentucky lawmaker was perhaps the greatest statesman this country has seen because he kept the Union together through deep political strife over slavery.

  • Compromise: Unger says Clay understood this country succeeds in its grand experiment of democracy only if and when lawmakers are willing and able to compromise with those whom with they disagree.
  • The Union: Unger says Clay helped craft the strength of the Union by building and facilitating relationships between states in the so-called “American System”.
  • Modern Speakership: Unger says many current lawmakers don’t understand the importance of compromise in being a leader in this country. He says he thinks the next speaker, who will replace outgoing Speaker John Boehner, could increase political division rather than compromise.

Image credit: Henry Clay

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