Clement Comer Clay



Chairman of the Constitutional Convention of 1819 and the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Alabama. Member of the Alabama Legislature and of Congress. Governor of Alabama and U.S. Senator.

Clement Comer Clay breathed the spark of constitutional life into the newborn State of Alabama and served as guardian of that heritage of liberty through more than a score of years during which he occupied the highest political offices of the state.

Having a firm hand in the shaping of the state during its early years, Clay exerted influence still felt today. He was elected to the first Territorial Legislature of Alabama in 1817; a Madison County delegate to the first constitutional convention held in 1819, where he was named chairman of a 15-man committee to draft a constitution for the new state; named one of the first circuit judges of the state, and elected by his 3 colleagues as the first chief justice of the Supreme Court of Alabama.

He was again elected to the legislature in 1827 and unanimously voted speaker of the lower house. The following year he was elected to the United States House of Representatives, where he served through the 21st, 22nd, and 23rd Congresses. Recalled to Alabama to accept the Democratic nomination for governor in 1835, he polled a 2-to-1 victory over his nearest opponent. Before his term was up he was named to the United States Senate, where he served until 1841, when he retired to private practice. He was commissioned that year to prepare a digest of Alabama laws and his digest was approved by the state legislature in 1842. Clay bowed from public life in 1846 after serving as one of the 3 commissioners charged with concluding the affairs of the State Bank.

Elected 1953

Alabama Hall of Fame, 1968

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Created: 1/18/96