Clay was born on April 12, 1777, in Hanover County, Virginia. He was born to John Clay, a minister. His mother Elizabeth Hudson was After studying for the bar with the eminent George Wythe, Clay, at the age of 20, moved to Lexington, Kentucky, where he developed a thriving practice. He was blessed with a quick mind, a flair for oratory, and an ability to charm both sexes with his easy, attractive manner. That he loved to drink and gamble was no drawback in an age that admired both vices. Clay, ambitious for worldly success, married into a wealthy and socially prominent family and soon gained entry into Kentucky's most influential circles. While still in his 20s, he was elected to the state legislature, in which he served for six years, until 1809.
Clay established his great reputation in the United States House of Representatives, where he served intermittently from 1811 to 1825. In his first term, he became one of the leading "War Hawks"—the young men whose c...