United States Secretary of State
The Secretary of State is a senior official of the federal government of the United States of America, as head of the United States Department of State, is principally concerned with foreign policy and is considered to be the U. S. government's equivalent of a Minister for Foreign Affairs. The Secretary of State is nominated by the President of the United States and, following a confirmation hearing before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, is confirmed by the United States Senate; the Secretary of State, along with the Secretary of the Treasury, Secretary of Defense, Attorney General, are regarded as the four most important Cabinet members because of the importance of their respective departments. Secretary of State is a Level I position in the Executive Schedule and thus earns the salary prescribed for that level; the current Secretary of State is Mike Pompeo, who served as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Pompeo replaced Rex Tillerson whom President Trump dismissed on March 13, 2018.
Tillerson's last day at the State Department was March 31, 2018. Pompeo was confirmed by the Senate on April 26, 2018 and was sworn in that day; the stated duties of the Secretary of State are as follows: "Supervises the United States Foreign Service" and "administers the Department of State" Advises the President on matters relating to U. S. foreign policy including the appointment of diplomatic representatives to other nations and on the acceptance, recall, or dismissal of representatives from other nations "Negotiates, interprets, or terminates treaties and agreements" and "conducts negotiations relating to U. S. foreign affairs" "Personally participates in or directs U. S. representatives to international conferences and agencies" Provides information and services to U. S. citizens living or traveling abroad such as providing credentials in the form of passports Ensure the protection of the U. S. government to U. S. citizens and interests in foreign countries "Supervises the administration of the U.
S. immigration policy abroad" Communicates issues relating the U. S. foreign policy to Congress and to U. S. citizens "Promotes beneficial economic intercourse between the U. S. and other countries"The original duties of the Secretary of State include some domestic duties such as: Receipt, publication and preservation of the laws of the United States Preparation and recording of the commissions of Presidential appointees Preparation and authentication of copies of records and authentication of copies under the Department's seal Custody of the Great Seal of the United States Custody of the records of former Secretary of the Continental Congress except for those of the Treasury and War departmentsMost of the domestic functions of the Department of State have been transferred to other agencies. Those that remain include storage and use of the Great Seal of the United States, performance of protocol functions for the White House, the drafting of certain proclamations; the Secretary negotiates with the individual States over the extradition of fugitives to foreign countries.
Under Federal Law, the resignation of a president or of a vice president is only valid if declared in writing, in an instrument delivered to the office of the secretary of state. Accordingly, the resignations in disgrace of President Nixon and of Vice-President Spiro Agnew, domestic issues, were formalized in instruments delivered to the Secretary of State; as the highest-ranking member of the cabinet, the secretary of state is the third-highest official of the executive branch of the Federal Government of the United States, after the president and vice president, is fourth in line to succeed the presidency, coming after the vice president, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the President pro tempore of the Senate. Six secretaries of state have gone on to be elected president. Others, including Henry Clay, William Seward, James Blaine, William Jennings Bryan, John Kerry, Hillary Clinton have been unsuccessful presidential candidates, either before or after their term of office as Secretary of State.
The nature of the position means. The record for most countries visited in a secretary's tenure is 112 by Hillary Clinton. Second is Madeleine Albright with 96; the record for most air miles traveled in a secretary's tenure is 1,417,576 miles by John Kerry. Second is Condoleezza Rice's 1,059,247 miles, third is Clinton's 956,733 miles. Official website
Rutherford B. Hayes
Rutherford Birchard Hayes was the 19th president of the United States from 1877 to 1881, having served as an American representative and governor of Ohio. Hayes was a lawyer and staunch abolitionist who defended refugee slaves in court proceedings in the antebellum years. During the American Civil War, he was wounded while fighting in the Union Army, he was nominated as the Republican candidate for the presidency in 1876 and elected through the Compromise of 1877 that ended the Reconstruction Era by leaving the South to govern itself. In office he withdrew military troops from the South, ending Army support for Republican state governments in the South and the efforts of African-American freedmen to establish their families as free citizens, he promoted civil service reform, attempted to reconcile the divisions left over from the Civil War and Reconstruction. Hayes, an attorney in Ohio, served as city solicitor of Cincinnati from 1858 to 1861; when the Civil War began, he left a fledgling political career to join the Union Army as an officer.
Hayes was wounded five times, most at the Battle of South Mountain. He was promoted to the rank of brevet major general. After the war, he served in the Congress from 1865 to 1867 as a Republican. Hayes left Congress to run for governor of Ohio and was elected to two consecutive terms, from 1868 to 1872, he served a third two-year term, from 1876 to 1877. In 1876, Hayes was elected president in one of the most contentious elections in national history, he lost the popular vote to Democrat Samuel J. Tilden but he won an intensely disputed electoral college vote after a Congressional commission awarded him twenty contested electoral votes; the result was the Compromise of 1877, in which the Democrats acquiesced to Hayes's election on the condition that he withdraw remaining U. S. troops protecting Republican office holders in the South, thus ending the Reconstruction era. Hayes believed in equal treatment without regard to race, he ordered federal troops to guard federal buildings and in so doing restore order from the Great Railroad Strike of 1877.
He implemented modest civil service reforms that laid the groundwork for further reform in the 1880s and 1890s. He vetoed the Bland–Allison Act, which would have put silver money into circulation and raised nominal prices, insisting that maintenance of the gold standard was essential to economic recovery, his policy toward Western Indians anticipated the assimilationist program of the Dawes Act of 1887. Hayes kept his pledge not to run for re-election, retired to his home in Ohio, became an advocate of social and educational reform. Biographer Ari Hoogenboom said his greatest achievement was to restore popular faith in the presidency and to reverse the deterioration of executive power that had set in after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Although supporters have praised his commitment to civil service reform and defense of civil rights, Hayes is ranked as average or below average by historians and scholars. Rutherford Birchard Hayes was born in Delaware, Ohio, on October 4, 1822, to Rutherford Hayes, Jr. and Sophia Birchard.
Hayes's father, a Vermont storekeeper, took the family to Ohio in 1817. He died ten weeks before Rutherford's birth. Sophia took charge of the family, raising Hayes and his sister, the only two of the four children to survive to adulthood, she never remarried, Sophia's younger brother, Sardis Birchard, lived with the family for a time. He became a father figure to him, contributing to his early education. Through each of his parents, Hayes was descended from New England colonists, his earliest immigrant ancestor came to Connecticut from Scotland in 1625. Hayes's great-grandfather, Ezekiel Hayes, was a militia captain in Connecticut in the American Revolutionary War, but Ezekiel's son left his Branford home during the war for the relative peace of Vermont, his mother's ancestors migrated to Vermont at a similar time. Most of his close relatives outside Ohio continued to live there. John Noyes, an uncle by marriage, had been his father's business partner in Vermont and was elected to Congress, his first cousin, Mary Jane Mead, was the mother of sculptor Larkin Goldsmith Mead and architect William Rutherford Mead.
John Humphrey Noyes, the founder of the Oneida Community, was a first cousin. Hayes attended the common schools in Delaware and enrolled in 1836 at the Methodist Norwalk Seminary in Norwalk, Ohio, he did well at Norwalk, the following year transferred to The Webb School, a preparatory school in Middletown, where he studied Latin and Ancient Greek. Returning to Ohio, he attended Kenyon College in Gambier in 1838, he enjoyed his time at Kenyon, was successful scholastically. He addressed the class as its valedictorian. After reading law in Columbus, Hayes moved east to attend Harvard Law School in 1843. Graduating with an LL. B, he opened his own law office in Lower Sandusky. Business was slow at first, but he attracted a few clients and represented his uncle Sardis in real estate litigation. In 1847, Hayes became ill with. Thinking a change in climate would help, he considered enlisting in the Mexican–American War, but on his doctor's advice he instead visited family in New England. Returning from there and his uncle Sardis made a long journey to Texas, where Hayes visited with Guy M. Bryan, a Kenyon classm
John Quincy Adams
John Quincy Adams was an American statesman, diplomat and diarist who served as the sixth president of the United States from 1825 to 1829. He served as the eighth United States Secretary of State from 1817 to 1825. During his long diplomatic and political career, Adams served as an ambassador, represented Massachusetts as a United States Senator and as a member of the United States House of Representatives, he was the eldest son of John Adams, who served as the second US president from 1797 to 1801. A Federalist like his father, he won election to the presidency as a member of the Democratic-Republican Party, in the mid-1830s became affiliated with the Whig Party. Born in Braintree, Adams spent much of his youth in Europe, where his father served as a diplomat. After returning to the United States, Adams established a successful legal practice in Boston. In 1794, President George Washington appointed Adams as the U. S. ambassador to the Netherlands, Adams would serve in high-ranking diplomatic posts until 1801, when Thomas Jefferson took office as president.
Federalist leaders in Massachusetts arranged for Adams's election to the United States Senate in 1802, but Adams broke with the Federalist Party over foreign policy and was denied re-election. In 1809, Adams was appointed as the U. S. ambassador to Russia by a member of the Democratic-Republican Party. Adams held diplomatic posts for the duration of Madison's presidency, he served as part of the American delegation that negotiated an end to the War of 1812. In 1817, newly-elected President James Monroe selected Adams as his Secretary of State. In that role, Adams negotiated the Adams–Onís Treaty, which provided for the American acquisition of Florida, he helped formulate the Monroe Doctrine, which became a key tenet of U. S. foreign policy. The 1824 presidential election was contested by Adams, Andrew Jackson, William H. Crawford, Henry Clay, all of whom were members of the Democratic-Republican Party; as no candidate won a majority of the electoral vote, the House of Representatives held a contingent election to determine the president, Adams won that contingent election with the support of Clay.
As president, Adams called for an ambitious agenda that included federally-funded infrastructure projects, the establishment of a national university, engagement with the countries of Latin America, but many of his initiatives were defeated in Congress. During Adams's presidency, the Democratic-Republican Party polarized into two major camps: one group, known as the National Republican Party, supported President Adams, while the other group, known as the Democratic Party, was led by Andrew Jackson; the Democrats proved to be more effective political organizers than Adams and his National Republican supporters, Jackson decisively defeated Adams in the 1828 presidential election. Rather than retiring from public service, Adams won election to the House of Representatives, where he would serve from 1831 to his death in 1848, he joined the Anti-Masonic Party in the early 1830s before becoming a member of the Whig Party, which united those opposed to President Jackson. During his time in Congress, Adams became critical of slavery and of the Southern leaders whom he believed controlled the Democratic Party.
He was opposed to the annexation of Texas and the Mexican–American War, which he saw as a war to extend slavery. He led the repeal of the "gag rule," which had prevented the House of Representatives from debating petitions to abolish slavery. Historians concur that Adams was one of the greatest diplomats and secretaries of state in American history, but they tend to rank him as an average president. John Quincy Adams was born on July 11, 1767, to John and Abigail Adams in a part of Braintree, Massachusetts, now Quincy, he was named for his mother's maternal grandfather, Colonel John Quincy, after whom Quincy, Massachusetts, is named. Young Adams was educated by private tutors – his cousin James Thaxter and his father's law clerk, Nathan Rice, he soon began to exhibit his literary skills, in 1779 he initiated a diary which he kept until just before he died in 1848. Until the age of ten, Adams grew up on the family farm in Braintree in the care of his mother. Though absent due to his participation in the American Revolution, John Adams maintained a correspondence with his son, encouraging him to read works by authors like Thucydides and Hugo Grotius.
With his father's encouragement, Adams would translate classical authors like Virgil, Horace and Aristotle. In 1778, Adams and his father departed for Europe, where John Adams would serve as part of American diplomatic missions in France and the Netherlands. During this period, Adams studied French and Latin, attended several schools, including Leiden University. In 1781, Adams traveled to Saint Petersburg, where he served as the secretary of American diplomat Francis Dana, he returned to the Netherlands in 1783, accompanied his father to Great Britain in 1784. Though Adams enjoyed Europe, he and his family decided he needed to return to the United States to complete his education and launch a political career. Adams returned to the United States in 1785 and earned admission as a member of the junior class of Harvard College the following year, he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and excelled academically, graduating second in his class in 1787. After graduating from Harvard, he studied law with Theophilus Parsons in Newburyport, Massachusetts from 1787 to 1789.
Adams opposed the ratification of the United States Constitution, but he came to accept the document, in 1789 his father was elected
1824 United States presidential election
The United States presidential election of 1824 was the tenth quadrennial presidential election, held from Tuesday, October 26, to Thursday, December 2, 1824. In an election contested by four members of the Democratic-Republican Party, no candidate won a majority of the electoral vote, necessitating a contingent election in the House of Representatives under the provisions of the Twelfth Amendment to the United States Constitution. On February 9, 1825, the House of Representatives elected John Quincy Adams as president; the 1824 presidential election was the first election in which the winner of the election lost the popular vote. Prior to the election, the Democratic-Republican Party had won six consecutive presidential elections, by 1824 the opposition Federalist Party had collapsed as a national party. Secretary of State Adams, General Andrew Jackson, Secretary of the Treasury William H. Crawford, Speaker of the House Henry Clay all sought the presidency as members of the Democratic-Republican Party.
A fifth candidate, John C. Calhoun sought the presidency before dropping out to run for vice president; the 1824 Democratic-Republican congressional nominating caucus nominated Crawford for president, but the other candidates disregarded this nomination and continued to seek the presidency. In the election, Adams won New England and Adams split the mid-Atlantic states and Clay split the Western states, Jackson and Crawford split the Southern states. Jackson finished with a plurality of the electoral and popular vote, while the other three candidates each finished with a significant share of the electoral and popular vote. Calhoun, who supported Jackson became the de facto running mate of Adams and as such was elected with a comfortable majority of the vice presidential vote in the Electoral College. However, no one had won a majority of the presidential electoral vote, the 1824 election thus became the first election to be decided in the House of Representatives under the terms of the 12th Amendment.
The 12th Amendment specified that only the three top finishers in the electoral vote were eligible to be selected by the House, thus eliminating Clay, influential within that chamber. In the contingent election, Clay threw his support behind Adams, who shared many of his positions on the major issues. With Clay's backing, Adams won the contingent election on the first ballot. After Adams took office, he appointed Clay as Secretary of State, supporters of Jackson accused Clay and Adams of having agreed to a "corrupt bargain" in which Clay supported Adams in return for his appointment to the most prestigious Cabinet position; the faction led by Jackson would evolve into the modern Democratic Party, while supporters of Adams and Henry Clay would form the National Republican Party and the Whig Party. Adams's 1824 election victory was thus the last of seven consecutive wins by the Democratic-Republican Party; the Era of Good Feelings associated with the administration of President James Monroe, was characterized by the dissolution of national political identities.
With the discredited Federalists in decline nationally, the "amalgamated" or hybridized Republicans adopted key Federalist economic programs and institutions, further erasing party identities and consolidating their victory. The economic nationalism of the Era of Good Feelings that would authorize the Tariff of 1816 and incorporate the Second Bank of the United States portended an abandonment of the Jeffersonian political formula for strict construction of the constitution, limited central government and commitments to the primacy of Southern agrarian interests; the end of opposition parties meant the end of party discipline and the means to suppress internecine factional animosities. Rather than produce political harmony, as President James Monroe had hoped, amalgamation had led to intense rivalries among Republicans. Bereft of any party apparatus to contain these outbursts, Monroe attempted to enlist the leading statesmen of his day into his cabinet so as to commit them to advancing his policies.
Of the five politicians who would run for president in 1824, three were in Monroe's cabinet: Secretary of State John Quincy Adams of Massachusetts, Secretary of the Treasury William H. Crawford of Georgia, Secretary of War John C. Calhoun of South Carolina. General Andrew Jackson of Tennessee, a commander in the regular US Army, was tapped for high-profile military assignments. Only Speaker of the House of Representatives Henry Clay of Kentucky held political power independent of the Monroe administration. Monroe's efforts to bring Clay into his cabinet failed, the Speaker remained a persistent critic of the Monroe administration. Amid these reconfigured political landscapes arose two pivotal events: the Panic of 1819 and the Missouri crisis of 1820. Both the alarming economic disaster, which fell upon both agrarian and industrial workers, the distressing sectional disputes over slavery expansion, produced widespread social unrest and calls for increased democratic control over the future of the American republic.
From these disaffected social groups would be assembled the popular base on which political parties would be revived, though these were only beginning to take shape at the time of the 1824 presidential election. The previous competition between the Federalist Party and the Democratic-Republican Party collapsed after the War of 1812 due to the disintegration of the Federalists' popular appeal, U. S. President James Monroe of the Democratic-Republican Party was able to run without opposition in the election of 1820. Like previous presidents, elected to two terms, James Monroe declined to seek re-nomination for a third term. Monroe's vice president, Daniel D. Tompkins, was considered unelec
1876 United States presidential election
The United States presidential election of 1876 was the 23rd quadrennial presidential election, held on Tuesday, November 7, 1876. It was one of the most contentious and controversial presidential elections in American history, is known for being the catalyst for the end of Reconstruction. Republican nominee Rutherford B. Hayes faced Democrat Samuel J. Tilden. After a controversial post-election process, Hayes was declared the winner. After President Ulysses S. Grant declined to seek a third term despite being expected to do so, Congressman James G. Blaine emerged as the front-runner for the Republican nomination. However, Blaine was unable to win a majority at the 1876 Republican National Convention, which settled on Governor Hayes of Ohio as a compromise candidate; the 1876 Democratic National Convention nominated Governor Tilden of New York on the second ballot. The results of the election remain among the most disputed although it is not disputed that Tilden outpolled Hayes in the popular vote.
After a first count of votes, Tilden won 184 electoral votes to Hayes' 165, with 20 votes from four states unresolved. In Florida and South Carolina, each party reported its candidate had won the state, while in Oregon one elector was replaced after being declared illegal for being an "elected or appointed official"; the question of who should have been awarded these electoral votes is the source of the continued controversy. An informal deal was struck to resolve the dispute: the Compromise of 1877, which awarded all 20 electoral votes to Hayes. In return for the Democrats' acquiescence to Hayes' election, the Republicans agreed to withdraw federal troops from the South, ending Reconstruction; the Compromise ceded power in the Southern states to the Democratic Redeemers, who proceeded to disenfranchise black voters thereafter. The 1876 election is the second of five presidential elections in which the person who won the most popular votes did not win the election, the only such election in which the popular vote winner received a majority of the popular vote.
To date, it remains the election that recorded the smallest electoral vote victory and the election that yielded the highest voter turnout of the eligible voting age population in American history, at 81.8%. Despite not becoming president, Tilden was the first Democratic presidential nominee since James Buchanan in 1856 to win the popular vote and the first since Franklin Pierce in 1852 to do so in an outright majority, it was assumed during the year 1875 that incumbent President Ulysses S. Grant would run for a third term as president in spite of the poor economic conditions, the numerous political scandals that had developed since he assumed office in 1869, a long-standing tradition set by the first president, George Washington, not to stay in office longer than two terms. Grant's inner circle advised him to go for a third term and he did, but the House, by a sweeping 233 to 18 vote, passed a resolution declaring that the two-term tradition was to prevent a dictatorship. Late in the year, President Grant ruled himself out of running in 1876.
When the Sixth Republican National Convention assembled in Cincinnati, Ohio, on June 14, 1876, it appeared that James G. Blaine would be the nominee. On the first ballot, Blaine was just 100 votes short of a majority, his vote began to slide after the second ballot, however, as many Republicans feared that Blaine could not win the general election. Anti-Blaine delegates could not agree on a candidate until Blaine's total rose to 41% on the sixth ballot. Leaders of the reform Republicans met and considered alternatives, they chose Ohio's reform governor, Rutherford B. Hayes. On the seventh ballot, Hayes was nominated with 384 votes to 351 for Blaine and 21 for Benjamin Bristow. William A. Wheeler was nominated for vice-president by a much larger margin over his chief rival, Frederick Theodore Frelinghuysen, who served as a member of the electoral commission that awarded the election to Hayes. Democratic candidates: Samuel J. Tilden, governor of New York Thomas A. Hendricks, governor of Indiana Winfield Scott Hancock, United States Army major general from Pennsylvania William Allen, former governor of Ohio Thomas F. Bayard, U.
S. senator from Delaware Joel Parker, former governor of New Jersey The 12th Democratic National Convention assembled in St. Louis, Missouri, in June 1876, the first political convention held by one of the major American parties west of the Mississippi River. Five thousand people jammed the auditorium in St. Louis with hopes for the Democratic Party's first presidential victory in 20 years; the platform called for immediate and sweeping reforms in response to the scandals that had plagued the Grant administration. Tilden won more than 400 votes on the nomination by a landslide on the second. Tilden defeated Thomas A. Hendricks, Winfield Scott Hancock, William Allen, Thomas F. Bayard, Joel Parker for the presidential nomination. Tilden overcame strong opposition from "Honest John" Kelly, the leader of New York's Tammany Hall, to obtain the nomination. Thomas Hendricks was nominated for vice-president, since he was the only person put forward for the position; the Democratic platform pledged to replace the corruption of the Grant administration with honest, efficient government and to end "the rapacity of carpetbag tyrannies" in the South.
It called for treaty protection for naturalized United States citizens visiting their homelands, restrictions on Asian immigration, tariff reform, opposition to land grants for railroads. It has been claimed that the voting Democrats received Tilden's nomination w
Henry Clay Sr. was an American attorney and statesman who represented Kentucky in both the United States Senate and United States House of Representatives, served as 7th speaker of the U. S. House of Representatives, served as the 9th U. S. secretary of state. He received electoral votes for president in the 1824, 1832, 1844 presidential elections and helped found both the National Republican Party and the Whig Party. For his role in defusing sectional crises, he earned the appellation of the "Great Compromiser." Clay was born in Hanover County, Virginia in 1777 and launched a legal career in Lexington, Kentucky in 1797. As a member of the Democratic-Republican Party, Clay won election to the Kentucky state legislature in 1803 and to the U. S. House of Representatives in 1810, he was chosen as speaker of the House in early 1811 and, along with President James Madison, led the United States into the War of 1812 against Britain. In 1814, he helped negotiate the Treaty of Ghent, which brought an end to the War of 1812.
After the war, Clay returned to his position as speaker of the House and developed the American System, which called for federal infrastructure investments, support for the national bank, protective tariff rates. In 1820, he helped bring an end to a sectional crisis over slavery by leading the passage of the Missouri Compromise. Clay finished with the fourth-most electoral votes in the multi-candidate 1824 presidential election, he helped John Quincy Adams win the contingent election held to select the president. President Adams appointed Clay to the prestigious position of secretary of state. Despite receiving support from Clay and other National Republicans, Adams was defeated by Democrat Andrew Jackson in the 1828 presidential election. Clay won election to the Senate in 1831 and ran as the National Republican nominee in the 1832 presidential election, but he was defeated by President Jackson. After the 1832 election, Clay helped bring an end to the Nullification Crisis by leading passage of the Tariff of 1833.
During Jackson's second term, opponents of the president coalesced into the Whig Party, Clay became a leading congressional Whig. Clay sought the presidency in the 1840 election but was defeated at the Whig National Convention by William Henry Harrison, he clashed with Harrison's running mate and successor, John Tyler, who broke with Clay and other congressional Whigs after taking office in 1841. Clay resigned from the Senate in 1842 and won the 1844 Whig presidential nomination, but he was defeated in the general election by Democrat James K. Polk, who made the annexation of the Republic of Texas his key issue. Clay criticized the subsequent Mexican–American War and sought the Whig presidential nomination in 1848, but was defeated by General Zachary Taylor. After returning to the Senate in 1849, Clay played a key role in passing the Compromise of 1850, which resolved a crisis over the status of slavery in the territories. Clay is regarded as one of the most important and influential political figures of his era.
Henry Clay was born on April 1777, at the Clay homestead in Hanover County, Virginia. He was the seventh of nine children born to the Reverend John Elizabeth Clay, his father, a Baptist minister nicknamed "Sir John", died in 1781, leaving left Henry and his brothers two slaves each. Clay was of English descent and his ancestor, John Clay, settled in Virginia in 1613. Clay was a distant cousin of Cassius Clay, a prominent anti-slavery activist active in the mid-19th century; the British raided Clay's home shortly after the death of his father, leaving the family in a precarious economic position. However, the widow Elizabeth Clay married Captain Henry Watkins, an affectionate stepfather and a successful planter. Elizabeth would had seven more children with Watkins, bearing a total of sixteen children. After his mother's remarriage, the young Clay remained in Hanover County, where he learned how to read and write. In 1791, Henry Watkins moved the family to Kentucky, joining his brother in the pursuit of fertile new lands in the West.
However, Clay did not follow, as Watkins secured him temporary employment in a Richmond emporium, with the promise that Clay would receive the next available clerkship at the Virginia Court of Chancery. After Clay worked in the Richmond emporium for one year, a clerkship opened up at the Virginia Court of Chancery. Clay adapted well to his new role, his handwriting earned him the attention of William & Mary professor George Wythe, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, mentor of Thomas Jefferson, judge on Virginia's High Court of Chancery. Hampered by a crippled hand, Wythe chose Clay as his secretary and amanuensis, a role in which Clay would remain for four years. Wythe had a powerful effect on Clay's worldview, Clay embraced Wythe's belief that the example of the United States could help spread human freedom around the world. Wythe arranged for Clay a position with the Virginia attorney general, Robert Brooke, with the understanding that Brooke would finish Clay's legal studies. Under Brooke's tutelage, Clay was admitted to the Virginia Bar in 1797.
On April 11, 1799, Clay married Lucretia Hart at the Hart home in Kentucky. Her father, Colonel Thomas Hart, was early settler of a prominent businessman. Hart proved to be an important business connection for Clay, as he helped Clay gain new clients and grow in professional stature. Hart was the namesake and grand-uncle of Missouri Senator Thomas Hart Benton, was related to James Brown, a prominent Louisiana politician, Isaac Shelby, the first Governor of Kentucky. Clay and Lucretia w
United States House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives is the lower chamber of the United States Congress, the Senate being the upper chamber. Together they compose the legislature of the United States; the composition of the House is established by Article One of the United States Constitution. The House is composed of Representatives who sit in congressional districts that are allocated to each of the 50 states on a basis of population as measured by the U. S. Census, with each district entitled to one representative. Since its inception in 1789, all Representatives have been directly elected; the total number of voting representatives is fixed by law at 435. As of the 2010 Census, the largest delegation is that of California, with fifty-three representatives. Seven states have only one representative: Alaska, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming; the House is charged with the passage of federal legislation, known as bills, after concurrence by the Senate, are sent to the President for consideration.
In addition to this basic power, the House has certain exclusive powers, among them the power to initiate all bills related to revenue. The House meets in the south wing of the United States Capitol; the presiding officer is the Speaker of the House, elected by the members thereof. The Speaker and other floor leaders are chosen by the Democratic Caucus or the Republican Conference, depending on whichever party has more voting members. Under the Articles of Confederation, the Congress of the Confederation was a unicameral body in which each state was represented, in which each state had a veto over most action. After eight years of a more limited confederal government under the Articles, numerous political leaders such as James Madison and Alexander Hamilton initiated the Constitutional Convention in 1787, which received the Confederation Congress's sanction to "amend the Articles of Confederation". All states except Rhode Island agreed to send delegates; the issue of how to structure Congress was one of the most divisive among the founders during the Convention.
Edmund Randolph's Virginia Plan called for a bicameral Congress: the lower house would be "of the people", elected directly by the people of the United States and representing public opinion, a more deliberative upper house, elected by the lower house, that would represent the individual states, would be less susceptible to variations of mass sentiment. The House is referred to as the lower house, with the Senate being the upper house, although the United States Constitution does not use that terminology. Both houses' approval is necessary for the passage of legislation; the Virginia Plan drew the support of delegates from large states such as Virginia and Pennsylvania, as it called for representation based on population. The smaller states, favored the New Jersey Plan, which called for a unicameral Congress with equal representation for the states; the Convention reached the Connecticut Compromise or Great Compromise, under which one house of Congress would provide representation proportional to each state's population, whereas the other would provide equal representation amongst the states.
The Constitution was ratified by the requisite number of states in 1788, but its implementation was set for March 4, 1789. The House began work on April 1789, when it achieved a quorum for the first time. During the first half of the 19th century, the House was in conflict with the Senate over regionally divisive issues, including slavery; the North was much more populous than the South, therefore dominated the House of Representatives. However, the North held no such advantage in the Senate, where the equal representation of states prevailed. Regional conflict was most pronounced over the issue of slavery. One example of a provision supported by the House but blocked by the Senate was the Wilmot Proviso, which sought to ban slavery in the land gained during the Mexican–American War. Conflict over slavery and other issues persisted until the Civil War, which began soon after several southern states attempted to secede from the Union; the war culminated in the abolition of slavery. All southern senators except Andrew Johnson resigned their seats at the beginning of the war, therefore the Senate did not hold the balance of power between North and South during the war.
The years of Reconstruction that followed witnessed large majorities for the Republican Party, which many Americans associated with the Union's victory in the Civil War and the ending of slavery. The Reconstruction period ended in about 1877; the Democratic Party and Republican Party each held majorities in the House at various times. The late 19th and early 20th centuries saw a dramatic increase in the power of the Speaker of the House; the rise of the Speaker's influence began in the 1890s, during the tenure of Republican Thomas Brackett Reed. "Czar Reed", as he was nicknamed, attempted to put into effect his view that "The best system is to have one party govern and the other party watch." The leadership structure of the House developed during the same period, with the positions of Majority Leader and Minority Leader being created in 1899. While the Minority Leader