1. Attempting to win a presidential election on three separate occasions, Henry Clay failed in 1824, 1832, and 1844, representing different parties on each flawed effort
Representing Kentucky in both the United States Senate and House of Representatives, interrupting these positions with a single term as Secretary of State from 1825 and 1829, Henry Clay Sr. was a widely celebrated politician of his age. Chosen as Speaker of the House on three separate occasions, holding the title for a combined total of ten years, his capacity for mediation and defusing crises earned him the affable moniker of “Great Compromiser”. Finishing fourth on his first attempt to become president in 1824, carrying only three states and winning thirty-seven electoral votes, it has been alleged Clay’s support for John Quincy Adams during the resultant contingent election in the House was won as part of a “corrupt bargain” for his subsequent cabinet position.
Running against Jackson in the 1832 presidential election as the National Republican candidate, although performing marginally better among an equally crowded four-way slate, Clay likewise lost. Claiming just six states and forty-nine electoral votes, Clay, however, was not to be dissuaded. Trying for a final time in 1844, Clay successfully won the Whig nomination in the absence of John Tyler, meeting Democratic nominee James K. Polk in the general election. Offering his best performance, albeit not enough, Clay lost by 170 to 105 electoral votes, winning eleven states to Polk’s fifteen.
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