The Great Triumvirate: Webster, Clay, and Calhoun

Merrill D. Peterson, Author Oxford University Press, USA $35 (592p) ISBN 978-0-19-503877-4
Peterson's new work extends the rich canvas of early American history offered in Adams and Jefferson, Thomas Jefferson and the New Nation and The Jefferson Image in the American Mind. Its ambience evokes an entire era, and it portrays in terms of their related and separate approaches to the most challenging issues of their time (form the War of 1812 to the year all three died: 1852) the trio of regional political giants who became known as the Great Triumvirate. Henry Clay of pioneer Kentucky was a young ""war hawk'' until the rise of the slavery issue, inextricably tied to the Union's westward growth and conflicting viewpoints in the North and South, brought him into decades-long struggles with the ``Yankee Demosthenes,'' Daniel Webster, and the flamboyant South Carolinian, John C. Calhoun. Through banking crises, election after election, the 1837 Panic under Andrew Jackson, the Missouri Compromise, the Mexican War and much more, each made deals with the others while failing time and again to become president. Here is a remarkably vivid picture of American politics as a post-Founding Fathers generation fought togetherand ultimately one against anotherto save the Union as each faction conceived it. Illustrations. (October)
Reviewed on: 09/30/1987
Release date: 10/01/1987
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