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Henry Clay

Secretary of State

As a candidate for the presidency in 1824, Clay had the fourth largest number of electoral votes, and, with no candidate having a majority, the election went to the House, where the three highest were to be voted upon. It became Clay's duty to vote for one of his rivals. Despite the Western interests of Andrew Jackson and despite the instructions of the Kentucky legislature to vote for him, Clay's dislike for the military hero was so intense that he voted for John Quincy Adams. When President Adams appointed Clay Secretary of State, Jackson's friends cried "corrupt bargain" and charged Clay with political collusion. Evidence has not been found to prove this, but the accusation impeded Clay's future political fortunes. As Secretary of State (1825–29), he secured congressional approval—which came too late for the American delegates to attend—of U.S. participation in the Pan-American Congress of 1826.

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The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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