Lincoln’s Hero

Lincoln revered Whig Party leader Henry Clay who played a central role in American politics for more than forty years as secretary of state, speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, and U.S. senator. Clay, a slave owner who disliked the system’s divisive effects on the country, advocated gradual, compensated emancipation and the colonization of liberated slaves to Africa, positions Lincoln later adopted as his own. After Clay died in 1852, Lincoln eulogized him as “my beau ideal of a statesman.”