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The Great Triumvirate : Webster, Clay, and Calhoun - Merrill D. Peterson

The Great Triumvirate

Webster, Clay, and Calhoun

Paperback Published: 8th December 1988
ISBN: 9780195056860
Number Of Pages: 582

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Enormously powerful, intensely ambitious, the very personifications of their respective regions--Daniel Webster, Henry Clay, and John C. Calhoun represented the foremost statemen of their age. In the decades preceding the Civil War, they dominated American congressional politics as no other figures have. Now Merrill D. Peterson, one of our most gifted historians, brilliantly re-creates the lives and times of these great men in this monumental collective biography.
Arriving on the national scene at the onset of the War of 1812 and departing political life during the ordeal of the Union in 1850-52, Webster, Clay, and Calhoun opened--and closed--a new era in American politics. In outlook and style, they represented startling contrasts: Webster, the Federalist and staunch New England defender of the Union; Clay, the "war hawk" and National Rebublican leader from the West; Calhoun, the youthful nationalist who became the foremost spokesman of the South and slavery. They came together in the Senate for the first time in 1832, united in their opposition of Andrew Jackson, and thus gave birth to the idea of the "Great Triumvirate." Entering the history books, this idea survived the test of time because these men divided so much of American politics between them for so long.
Peterson brings to life the great events in which the Triumvirate figured so prominently, including the debates on Clay's American System, the Missouri Compromise, the Webster-Hayne debate, the Bank War, the Webster-Ashburton Treaty, the annexation of Texas, and the Compromise of 1850. At once a sweeping narrative and a penetrating study of non-presidential leadership, this book offers an indelible picture of this conservative era in which statesmen viewed the preservation of the legacy of free government inherited from the Founding Fathers as their principal mission. In fascinating detail, Peterson demonstrates how precisely Webster, Clay, and Calhoun exemplify three facets of this national mind.

Industry Reviews

"A remarkably vivid picture of American politics as a post-Founding Fathers generation fought together--and ultimately one against another--to save the Union as each faction conceived it."--Publishers Weekly "A thorough and scholarly account of three enduring symbols of congressional leadership."--Los Angeles Times Book Review "In this ambitious and impressively executed book, Merrill Peterson offers a work that is both a collective biography and a history of political leadership and public policy in the United States from the beginning of the War of 1812 to the early 1850s....The work succeeds engagingly in blending the biographical approach to history with the analytical study of public policy."--Georgia Historical Quarterly "A well-done, compact biography of three inextricably intertwined leaders."--Kirkus Reviews "Particularly welcome because only a few historians have been successful in pulling together this period....Basing his work on a careful combing of the original sources, [Peterson] has made a distinguished contribution to the study of American history."--The New York Times Book Review "[An] elaborate and learned study....A careful charting of these difficult, and sometimes acrimonious, interrelationships."--The Boston Globe "[Peterson's] details enable us to recognize how little the practices of parliamentary democracy have changed."--The New Yorker "An unusual alchemy--one part history, one part biography--by a leading American historian who argues that these three men...were the match of the founding generation of Americans."--The Wall Street Journal "[A] well-crafted triple biography....Peterson imparts a good deal of excitement to the events of the past."--New York City Tribune "Narrative history at its best, scholarly and a model of fairness, but at the same time full of life--much better reading than most modern fiction."--Don E. Fehrenbacher, Stanford University "An ambitious work by one of our country's foremost scholars...indispensable to the study of American political development....A book that will surely stand as a classic in historical analysis."--Robert W. Johannsen, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign "Marvelous....A rich and wonderfully compelling treatment of politics and policy in antebellum America....A master work, insightful, highly readable, replete with fresh interpretations and based on exhaustive research."--John Niven, The Claremont Graduate School "A high narrative history of the type we seldom see anymore....It is history written out of the raw stuff of the historical record itself."--The World & I "[Peterson] tells his story effectively, and readers looking for dramatic, well-written, and carefully documented summaries of the major political events of this period will find his book quite useful....Peterson has supplied us with a richly detailed narrative of the interactions of three of America's most famous political leaders."--Irving H. Bartlett, New England Quarterly "Likely to remain the definitive work on Daniel Webster, Henry Clay and John Calhoun."--The Philadelphia Inquirer "In this finely crafted narrative, Peterson presents a compelling and informing collective biography of the Great Triumvirate....A fine work by a master historian. All students of nineteenth-century American history and biography will value it."--Indiana Magazine of History "[A] serious, substantial work that instructs as well as delights....lay readers...will rightfully be drawn to [it]."--Civil War History

ISBN: 9780195056860
ISBN-10: 0195056868
Series: Webster, Clay, and Calhoun
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 582
Published: 8th December 1988
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.42 x 15.6  x 4.04
Weight (kg): 1.02