Heirs of the Founders: The Epic Rivalry of Henry Clay, John Calhoun and Daniel Webster, the Second Generation of American Giants


In the early 1800s, three young men strode onto the national stage, elected to Congress at a moment when the Founding Fathers were beginning to retire to their farms. Daniel Webster of Massachusetts, a champion orator known for his eloquence, spoke for the North and its business class. Henry Clay of Kentucky, as dashing as he was ambitious, embodied the hopes of the rising West. South Carolina's John Calhoun, with piercing eyes and an even more piercing intellect, defended the South and slavery.
Together these heirs of Washington, Jefferson and Adams took the country to war, battled one another for the presidency and set themselves the task of finishing the work the Founders had left undone. Their rise was marked by dramatic duels, fierce debates, scandal and political betrayal. Yet each in his own way sought to remedy the two glaring flaws in the Constitution: its refusal to specify where authority ultimately rested, with the states or the nation, and its unwillingness to address the essential incompatibility of republicanism and slavery.
They wrestled with these issues for four decades, arguing bitterly and hammering out political compromises that held the Union together, but only just. Then, in 1850, when California moved to join the Union as a free state, "the immortal trio" had one last chance to save the country from the real risk of civil war. But, by that point, they had never been further apart.
Thrillingly and authoritatively, H. W. Brands narrates an epic American rivalry and the little-known drama of the dangerous early years of our democracy.


I felt like this book was telling us, what our history was like in the forgotten time from 1800 to the beginning of the Civil War. Men that founded our country were retiring, leaving the office and a new generation was coming to the forefront of politics. Names like Henry Clay who would run for President but never win. He was though speaker of the House and became the 9th Secretary of State. Had a hand in the great Missouri compromise. Daniel Webster who as an attorney argued successfully in two cases with the Supreme Court. Was twice Secretary of State also was against the war of 1812. You also get to see how the fight that he and Jackson had on different policies when Jackson became President. Then there is John Calhoun who was in favor of slavery he was also from South Carolina. He was Vice President under John Quincy Adams and one term under Andrew Jackson. He also was Secretary of State for almost one year and he also was Secretary of War for eight years. All of these men just make up a few of the ones that changed history during this time. These men seem to always be around the news. Weather as senators or in other titles of government. They may not have all agreed on the war of 1812 but one thing they fought with a passion about was slavery, whether for or against and you can just see how the war was going to happen people just needed a reason. I found this to be a very good history book for people who enjoy history. If you don’t it may be a slow read at times. For me, it was a good book. I received this book from Netgalley.com I gave it 5 stars. Follow us at www.1rad-readerreviews.com

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