062 Heirs of the Founders: Henry Clay, John Calhoun, a​​nd Daniel Webster with H.W. Brands

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In the early 1800s, three young men strode onto the national stage, elected to Congress at a moment when the Founding Fathers were beginning to retire to their farms. Daniel Webster of Massachusetts, a champion orator known for his eloquence, spoke for the North and its business class. Henry Clay of Kentucky, as dashing as he was ambitious, embodied the hopes of the rising West. South Carolina's John Calhoun, with piercing eyes and even more piercing intellect, defended the South and slavery. Together these heirs of Washington, Jefferson and Adams took the country to war, battled one another for the presidency and set themselves the task of finishing the work the Founders had left undone. Their rise was marked by dramatic duels, fierce debates, scandal, and political betrayal. Yet each in his own way sought to remedy the two glaring flaws in the Constitution: its refusal to specify where authority ultimately rested, with the states or the nation, and its unwillingness to address the essential incompatibility of republicanism and slavery. They wrestled with these issues for four decades, arguing bitterly and hammering out political compromises that held the Union together, but only just. Then, in 1850, when California moved to join the Union as a free state, "the immortal trio" had one last chance to save the country from the real risk of civil war. But, by that point, they had never been further apart. Thrillingly and authoritatively, H. W. Brands narrates an epic American rivalry and the little-known drama of the dangerous early years of our democracy. - H. W. Brands was born in Portland, Oregon, where he lived until he went to California for college. He attended Stanford University and studied history and mathematics. For nine years he taught mathematics and history in high school and community college. Meanwhile, he resumed his formal education, earning graduate degrees in mathematics and history, concluding with a doctorate in history from the University of Texas at Austin. In 1987 he joined the history faculty at Texas A&M University, where he taught for seventeen years. In 2005 he returned to the University of Texas, where he holds the Jack S. Blanton Sr. Chair in History. He has written twenty-five books, coauthored or edited five others, and published dozens of articles and scores of reviews. His most recent book is Heirs of the Founders: The Epic Rivalry of Henry Clay, John Calhoun and Daniel Webster, the Second Generation of American Giants. --- Support for the Age of Jackson Podcast was provided by Isabelle Laskari, Jared Riddick, John Muller, Julianne Johnson, Laura Lochner, Mark Etherton, Marshall Steinbaum, Martha S. Jones, Michael Gorodiloff, Mitchell Oxford, Richard D. Brown, Rod, Rosa, Stephen Campbell, and Victoria Johnson, as well as Andrew Jackson's Hermitage​ in Nashville, TN.

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