Monday, September 1, 2014

The Great Triumvirate

   Somewhere along the line. Starting out with Presidents graves, moving onto birthplaces, homes, libraries, VPs graves ect. I thought it would be cool to visit the graves of the 3 members of The Great Triumvirate - Henry Clay, Daniel Webster and John C. Calhoun. After all, Calhoun was already on the "to see" list being a former Vice President. Clay is buried in the same cemetery as VP John C. Breckinridge and Webster is buried not far from Quincy, Mass. Home of John and John Quincy Adams. So it was all very doable. It would just take some time.   

   As the picture below illustrates, the term "Triumvirate" originally referred to 3 powerful Roman Generals - Caesar, Pompey and Crassus. Who each represented their own respective group or class. 

    In the same way, in the decades leading up to the American Civil War, the 3 members of the Great Triumvirate would represent their own respective areas of the country. Daniel Webster in the North, John C. Calhoun in the South, and Henry Clay in the West. All 3 men served as U. S. Congressmen, U. S. Senators and all at different times were Secretary of State. They were powerful and influential in an era of mostly weak Presidents

              Henry Clay (1777 - 1852)

   Me at Henry Clays home "Ashland" in Lexington, Kentucky

               Henry Clays "Ashland"

    Henry Clay's Tomb in Lexington Cemetery, Lexington, Kentucky. It is so large and surrounded by trees that it is tough to get a good picture of the whole thing.

   Statue of Clay on top of the tomb

             Clays final resting place

                         Clay and I

  Clay was born and raised in Virginia. He set up his home in Kentucky after marrying a woman from Kentucky. In 1811, on his first day serving in the U. S. House of Representatives, he was chosen to be Speaker of the House. Which is the only time that ever happen except for the Houses first day in session in 1789. 

    Clay ran for President 3 times and lost all 3 times. He was Secretary of State under John Quincy Adams and was a U. S. Senator off and on for over 40 years. 

        Daniel Webster 1782 - 1852

        Plaque at Websters gravesite

             Webster family gravesite

                     Webster and I

   Daniel Webster was born in New Hampshire. When he was first elected to the US House of Representatives it was as a representative from New Hampshire. He eventually moved to Boston where he became a US senator from Massachusetts. 

   All in all he spent 10 years in the House of Representatives, 19 years in the U.S. Senate, and Secretary of State under William Henry Harrison John Tyler and Millard Fillmore. 

   In 1840 he was offered the Vice President spot on the Whig party ticket with William Henry Harrison. He turned it down. Of course Harrison won and after one month in office he died. Had Webster excepted the Vice President spot on the ticket, he would've become President. Instead he had to settle for being Secretary of State into the Tyler administration. 

         John C. Calhoun 1782 - 1850

     Calhouns gravesite in St. Phillips church cemetery in Charleston, South Carolina.

                      Calhoun and I

    Calhoun was born and raised in South Carolina where he lived all of his life. Besides serving in the House and Senate , he held many important political offices including Secretary of War under James Monroe and Secretary of State towards the end of John Tyler's administration. He is also one of only two Vice Presidents to serve under two different Presidents. He won the Vice Presidency in 1824 and served as John Quincy Adams Vice President.  He then won reelection in 1828 and continued being Vice President during Andrew Jackson's first term.   

    As the Representative from the south of the three. Calhoun embodied the southern gentleman and everything that went with it. Whereas guys like Thomas Jefferson and Henry Clay viewed slavery as a necessary evil with no immediate solution, Calhoun viewed it as all positive.  

    In 1957, a Senate Committee chose Clay, Webster and Calhoun as 3 of the 5 greatest Senators in U. S. History along with Robert Taft and Robert La Follette.