Henry Clay was born on April 12, 1777 in Hanover County, Virginia. Clay was hired as a shop assistant in Richmond, VI. Later on his stepfather helped him to get a job in the office of the Court of Chancery. While there he quickly grasped the understanding of the intricacies of law. Clay attended school at the College of William and Mary where he received a formal legal education and studied under George Wythe.
In 1803 Henry Clay was elected to serve as the representative of Fayette County for the Kentucky General Assembly. While there he advocated a liberal interpretation of Kentucky’s constitution as well as the gradual emancipation of slavery. He also worked hard to stand up for the Kentucky Insurance Company.
In 1828 there was the passing of a Tariff named “tariff of abominations” which raised tariffs enormously. This tariff caused fighting and threats by President Jackson to lead an army to South Carolina and bring harm to anyone who did not obey the law. These events worsened until in 1833 Clay helped to broker a deal in Congress to gradually lower the tariff. This measure helped to preserve the supremacy of the Federal government over the states.
Clay relocated from Kentucky to Washington and he brought slaves Aaron and Charlotte Dopy with him. The couple along with their two children, Charles and Mary Ann, was to work in Clay’s household. The family lived with Clay for nearly two decades. They enjoyed the relative freedoms of urban life as part of a community of blacks, both enslaved and free, in the city.
Henry Clay was getting ready to leave Washington to go back to Kentucky in 1829, when Charlotte Dupuy filed a lawsuit in district court for her freedom. Her case never reached the US Supreme Court. Dupuy accused Clay of wrongful enslavement and demanded freedom for her and her children based on the promise of freedom by her previous owner. However the court ruled against Dupuy arguing that any agreement with her former...