PIKEVILLE – What question would you pose to Kentucky’s great statesman Henry Clay if he were alive today? The University of Pikeville will host a Chautauqua presentation of Henry Clay, Kentucky’s Great Statesman, on Nov. 4 at 7 p.m. in Booth Auditorium.
Clay is portrayed by George McGee of Georgetown, a performer for the Kentucky Chautauqua.
Above all, Clay wanted to be president of the United States. Despite never quite making it to the White House, Clay made an incredible mark on the history of his country, which he served with high distinction as a senator, speaker of the house and secretary of state.
Born and educated in Virginia, Clay moved to Kentucky and set up a law practice in Lexington in 1797.
Elected to the state legislature in 1803, he took a seat in the U.S. Senate in 1810. For more than 40 years he was a major player on the national political scene, renowned for his oratory and devotion to the Union. Slavery posed a great political and personal quandary for Clay. A slaveholder himself, he advocated gradual emancipation and colonization in Africa. He opposed extension of slavery into the new western states, but argued Congress had no right to interfere with slavery where it already existed. Attacking abolitionists in 1839, he said he would “rather be right than president.” The speech cost him the 1840 Whig presidential nomination.
The performance is free to the community and presented by the Kentucky Humanities Council and the University of Pikeville’s Humanities Division.
The Kentucky Humanities Council, Inc. is an independent, nonprofit affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities in Washington, D.C. The Council is supported by the National Endowment and by private contributions and are proud partners with Kentucky’s cultural, heritage, arts, and tourism agencies.
For more information, call the Office of Public Affairs at (606) 218-5270.