Out of more than 4,500 votes cast yesterday, Henry Clay (“The Great Compromiser”) defeated Ted Kennedy (“The Last Lion”) in our Senate Madness contest pitting history’s most consequential senators. Thanks to everyone who participated in this fun -- and very educational -- exercise.
*** Who was Henry Clay? Henry Clay’s (D-R-Whig, 1777-1852) ability to navigate a fractured Senate is credited with fending off war between slave-owning and free states -- at least three times. He was pivotal in the negotiations in the creation of the Missouri Compromise, which allowed the United States to continue its Western expansion. For his efforts, Clay earned the nicknames “The Great Compromiser” and “The Great Pacificator.” How revered was he? Abraham Lincoln called him "my beau ideal of a statesman" and often used his quotes in his speeches. He was the first ever to receive the honor of being laid in state in the Capitol Rotunda. Clay also engineered the only censure of a president -- Andrew Jackson. Clay's death, which took place a decade before the Civil War's start, was regarded as the end of the Senate's "Golden Era."