Sunday, August 21, 2016
Opening paragraphs....Part 1
"What!" exclaimed the Nashville woman when I told her about my new research project following the completion of my biography of Andrew Jackson. "You're writing a biography of Henry Clay?" she gasped. "Henry Clay? Oh, General Jackson won't like that." Then, with a laugh, she added: "He might shoot you."
Well, he hasn't so far, and I doubt that he will, given his present location and the all-embracing expressions of forgiveness with which he departed this world. Besides, I don't consider myself disloyal to the Old Hero by writing a biography of Clay. I'm a historian, not a partisan or a propagandist.
Still, I've noticed many raised eyebrows among my colleagues in the academy when I explained my current interest. It does seem strange that having spent so many years of my life researching and writing the story of Jackson's remarkable course through American history, I should turn to his greatest political enemy and rival for my next scholarly undertaking.
-Robert V. Remini, from the Preface to Henry Clay: Statesman for the Union