Daniel Webster (1782–1852) was a prominent orator and politician who played a role in many of the most important events of his time. Webster started his career as a New Hampshire lawyer and was elected to the House of Representatives in 1812. He left the House in 1816 to continue his law career in Boston, arguing several landmark cases before the Supreme Court, including McCulloch v. Maryland in 1819. In 1823, Webster returned to the House, and in 1827 entered the Senate as a member of the National Republican Party. In 1830, he delivered his famous oration before the Senate arguing against nullification and declaring, “Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable!” Webster’s resistance to nullification gained him support from Whigs, and he soon became an associate of Henry Clay. In 1841, Webster was appointed secretary of state by President William Henry Harrison. He returned to the Senate in 1845 to oppose the annexation of Texas and the subsequent Mexican-American War. The early 1850s was a contentious time for Webster, who supported Henry Clay’s Compromise of 1850 and, as secretary of state, enforced the Fugitive Slave Law, and his compromises on slavery made him unpopular with his former constituents in the North.

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