The Richmond Register

Local News

March 28, 2013

Compromises of Clay, Crittenden are his models, McConnell says

RICHMOND — Most students of American history know of the war-averting compromises engineered by Henry Clay, the U.S. senator from Kentucky who may be the state’s most famous historical figure, except for Daniel Boone.

However, few may know of John J. Crittenden, another U.S. senator from Kentucky who was Clay’s protege and, like Clay, attempted to avert civil war through compromises.

U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, who has risen to national prominence, has been on a mission to revive interest in Crittenden, a man McConnell calls a forgotten statesman.

Although not a history professor, McConnell delivered a lecture Tuesday on Crittenden at Eastern Kentucky University.

Introduced by EKU President Doug Whitlock, McConnell presented the retiring university president with a framed copy of a tribute to his more than 40 years of service to Eastern that the senator had entered into the Congressional Record.

Crittenden’s oratorical talent aided both his political and legal careers, McConnell noted. His voice “poured forth like a great Niagara,” according to one contemporary account.

He also was a war hero, fighting in the War of 1812’s Battle of the Thames in Canada in which the American Indian leader Tecumseh was killed. That also boosted his political career.

In addition to serving as Kentucky governor and in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, Crittenden was the only attorney general to serve separate terms for different presidents.

While Clay could be both combative in the political arena and skewer his opponents with sarcasm, even as he negotiated compromises, Crittenden was conciliatory in his personal relations.

Another reason that Clay overshadows Crittenden and was less regarded by his contemporaries as well as historians is that Clay brought about two compromises that forestalled civil war, while Crittenden’s last-ditch efforts did not.

By 1860, however, differences between the North and South over slavery could no longer be bridged by compromise, McConnell said.

Crittenden was the main organizer of the Constitutional Union Party that fielded a candidate it hoped would appeal to both North and South but who carried only border states, including Kentucky. Crittenden declined to be its standard bearer.

When states began to secede after the election of Abraham Lincoln, Crittenden proposed a series of constitutional amendments he hoped would bring the states back into the Union, or at least stem the tide of secession. But they satisfied neither the South or the North. When the war came, he succeeded in helping keep Kentucky in the Union.

Although not mentioning his frequent portrayal in the press and by his opponents as an obstructionist, McConnell says he has followed the examples of Clay and Crittenden to reach common ground with his political opponents.

In 2010, McConnell said he negotiated with Vice President Joe Biden to reach a compromise on extending the George W. Bush-era tax cuts. The next year, he and Biden reached a compromise to pass the Budget Control Act. This past New Year’s Eve, he and Biden were hammering out a fiscal-cliff compromise while others reveled.

Bill Robinson can be reached at editor@richmondregister.com or at

624-6690.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • 4-20 Shoulders-B.jpg Eggs fly at park

    Easter has probably never been so “eggstravagant” in Richmond as it was Saturday during the annual Eggstravaganza in Irvine-McDowell Park.
    For the first time, thousands of eggs were dropped, appropriately by an “eggbeater”-type helicopter, in addition to thousands of eggs already scattered on the grass below. Together, they numbered about 10,000, according to Erin Moore, Richmond Parks and Recreation director.

    April 20, 2014 12 Photos

  • City awaits funds for Water Street project

    Richmond city officials are still awaiting word on grant funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for the Water Street drainage project.
    However, Mayor Jim Barnes said he is confident the money should come through by May 1.

    April 20, 2014

  • Kitcarson1.jpg Elementary schools built in ‘60s getting upgrades

    Renovation of three Madison County elementary schools built in Richmond during the 1960s will start this summer.
    The county school board voted Thursday to continue with the second phase of state paperwork required for the projects.
    With a target completion date of August 2015, renovations and alterations at Daniel Boone, Kit Carson and White Hall elementary schools are estimated to cost almost $12 million.

    April 20, 2014 9 Photos

  • KY 52 link to I-75 to be discussed May 13

    While a proposed link from Nicholasville to Exit 95 on Interstate 75 north of Richmond has garnered attention and organized opposition, the state also is developing plans to link I-75 to another community to the west.

    April 20, 2014

  • May 30 last school day for students

    After 16 snows days and two weather delays this winter, the Madison County School Board decided Thursday to end the school year on Friday, May 30.

    April 19, 2014

  • 4-19 TechExtra1.jpg Students showcase projects in Technology Extravaganza

    Madison County School students showed off just how tech savvy they can be during the district’s sixth annual Technology Extravaganza on Thursday at Madison Central High School. After the showcase, more than 350 students were honored for their work.

    April 19, 2014 7 Photos

  • 4-19 SchoolBoardJesseWard.jpg Ward honored for service; tech center named after him

    Retired Madison County educator Jesse Ward was recognized Thursday for his many years of service. To honor him, Superintendent Elmer Thomas announced the board’s decision to rename the district’s technology training center on North Second Street in Richmond the Jesse P. Ward Technology and Training Center.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-19 Brian Smith.jpg Berea man indicted on 24 child porn counts

    A Madison grand jury has indicted a Berea man on 24 counts related to child pornography.

    Brian J. Smith, 26, is charged with four counts of distribution and 20 counts of possession of matter portraying sexual performances by a minor.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-19 Gregory Powell.jpg Police apprehend burglary suspect

    An observant witness was able to help Richmond police catch a burglary suspect shortly after a break-in Thursday afternoon on Savanna Drive off Berea Road.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-18 PackTrack1a.jpg Walkers, runners of every age ‘Pack the Track’

    Waco Elementary and Model Laboratory schools students raised more than $8,000 (and counting) for the annual Pack the Track event at Eastern Kentucky University’s Tom Samuels Track Thursday, said Kim DeCoste of the Madison County Diabetes Coalition.

    April 18, 2014 14 Photos

AP Video
Raw: More Than 100,000 Gather for Easter Sunday Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Should Richmond rezone the southwest corner of Main Street and Tates Creek Avenue to B-1 (Neighborhood Business) with restrictions to allow construction of a financial services office?

Yes
No
     View Results