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Henry Clay, Sr. (April 12, 1777 - June 29, 1852) was an American politician, planter and orator who represented Kentucky in both the House of Representatives and US Senate, serving as Speaker of the House, and as the eighth President of the United States of America, serving for twelve years, the longest term of any President in history. He was also the Secretary of State from 1825 to 1829 under William Clark.
Clay is regarded as one of the most influential politicians in the history of the United States, helping reinvent and reform the structure of the American government as a member of Congress, as a member of the Cabinet and as the only three-term President. He is the only man to have appeared on six Presidential ballots (as John Quincy Adams' Vice Presidential nominee in 1820, and as the National Party nominee in 1828, 1832, 1836, 1840 and 1844).
Clay was a proponent of a strong central government whose main role was to provide interstate infrastructure, maintain peace between the states and as an arbiter of the affairs of the nation. Clay believed that the Congress spoke for the states and the Presidency spoke for the country, helping usher in an expansion of Presidential power that became a cornerstone in Nationalist ideology that remains today. Clay opposed the annexation of Texas as well as war with Mexico, but pledged his "unwavering commitment" to a victory in the Mexican-American War after the Mexican attack at Castilla Real in 1839. Clay supported high tariffs to promote American industry but managed to placate Southerners through his belief that the federal government had no role in either protecting or prosecuting the institution of slavery - thus, Clay maintained a powerful nationwide political base known as the "Clay coalition," accentuated in 1836 when he managed the only electoral sweep in United States history.
Due to the length of his term in office, his expansion of the national economy during his term and his governance in the Mexican-American War, Clay is often cited as one of the greatest Presidents in history and is regarded as one of the premier politicians in United States history.