1777-1852. "The Great Compromiser" of American politics. A native of Virginia who moved to Kentucky in young adulthood, he was appointed to the U.S. Senate at the age of 29 and two years later became Speaker of the House of Representatives. He supported the declaration of war on England (the War of 1812) but was a commissioner sent to the peace negotiations in Belgium in 1814. Back in the House, he and John C. Calhoun supported the Second National Bank of the U.S.

He wrote the Missouri Compromise (1821) which allowed the slaveholding states and the free states to get along in one country for a few more decades (even though he personally supported emanicipation and recolonization). He was then appointed Secretary of State under John Quincy Adams, ran for president three times unsuccessfully, and wrote the Compromise Tariff which ended the nullification crisis with South Carolina. In 1850, he and Daniel Webster also helped get the Compromise of 1850 passed, putting off civil war for another few years (though this compromise reversed some of the things put into law in the earlier Missouri Compromise).