Henry Clay Timeline

1777 – Born: Hanover County, Virginia (April 12)

1781 – Death of his father, Rev. John Clay

1783 – Remarriage of his mother, Elizabeth Hudson Clay, to Henry Watkins

1792 – The Watkinses move to Kentucky, leaving Henry in Richmond to study law. Begins working for George Wythe.

1796 – Studies law under Robert Brooke

1797 – Admitted to bar; moves to Kentucky

1799 – Marries Lucretia Hart

1803 – Elected to state legislature

1805 – Law professor at Transylvania University

1806 – Sent to U.S. Senate at age 29 to fill unexpired term

1807 – Elected to state legislature and Speaker of the House

1809 – Fights duel with Humphrey Marshall

1810 — Again appointed to complete unexpired term in U.S. Senate

1811 – Elected to U.S. House of Representatives and Speaker of the House

1814 – Peace Commissioner at Ghent, Belgium negotiating the treaty to end the War of 1812

1816 – Presides at formation of American Colonization Society

1820-21 – Missouri Compromise sponsored by Henry Clay

1824 – Runs for Presidency and is defeated by John Quincy Adams. Adams appoints him Secretary of State (1825-1829)

1826 — Fights duel with Virginia Senator John Randolph

1828 – Rejects offer of appointment to Supreme Court

1829 – Is sued by Charlotte Dupuy, his enslaved cook and nursemaid to his children, for her freedom.
— Ends his term as Secretary of State and returns to Lexington to farm and practice law

1831 – Elected U.S. Senate; nominated for Presidency

1832 – Campaigns for Presidency and is defeated by Andrew Jackson.

1833 — Authors Compromise Tariff Act

1836 – Elected President of American Colonization Society

1842 – Resigns as U.S. Senator

1844 – Nominated for Presidency and is defeated by James K. Polk

1849 – Returns to U.S. Senate

1850 – Authors Compromise of 1850

1852 – Dies in Washington D.C. (June 29); buried in Lexington Cemetery on July 10th

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