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At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 65,000 items cover five hundred years of American history, from Columbus’s 1493 letter describing the New World to soldiers’ letters from World War II and Vietnam. Explore primary sources, visit exhibitions in person or online, or bring your class on a field trip.

Clay, Henry (1777-1852) to Thomas J. Wharton

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC00509 Author/Creator: Clay, Henry (1777-1852) Place Written: Ashland, Kentucky Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 28 August 1823 Pagination: 1

Summary of Content: Discusses at length the strong position he took favoring emancipation 25 years earlier and how his continuing emancipation feelings defeated him at the polls several times due to the strong slavery interest. States that there are not enough Africans in the U.S. to pose a hazard if they are gradually emancipated. Writes, "My opinion is unchanged...the African portion of the community is not so large as to make any hazard to the purity & safety of Society by a gradual and prepared emancipation of the offspring." Also discusses the political situation especially as it was affecting his first candidacy for president in the 1824 presidential election. He assesses the support he might have and mentions his opponents Andrew Jackson and John Quincy Adams. Writes that some of Jackson's supporters are coming over to him.

People: Clay, Henry, 1777-1852.
Wharton, Thomas J., fl. 1823.
Adams, John Quincy, 1767-1848.
Jackson, Andrew, 1767-1845.

Historical Era: National Expansion and Reform, 1815-1860

Keywords/Subjects: President Politics, Government and Civics, Election, African American History, Abolition, Slave Sale, Reform Movement, Emancipation

Sub Era: Slavery & Anti-slavery