Henry Clay: Letter to the Editors of the Washington National Intelligencer on Texas Annexation

(1844)

Henry Clay’s Letter to the Editors of the Washington National Intelligencer on Texas Annexation, composed on April 17, 1844, days after U.S. President John Tyler had signed an annexation treaty with Texas, presents the congressman and presidential candidate’s arguments against that cause. As Clay grew older, his views on American expansion were tempered by a desire to avoid conflict. The annexation of Texas threatened to reignite the controversy over the spread of slavery, which had for the moment been settled by the Missouri Compromise of 1820. Moreover, Mexico did not recognize the independence of its former territory, raising the possibility of war between the United States and its southern neighbor if annexation took place. In his Letter to the Editors of the Washington National Intelligencer on Texas Annexation (also known as his Raleigh Letter), Clay puts forward the moral and pragmatic reasons to avoid annexation and stresses the theme of peace with Mexico and...

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Henry Clay (Library of Congress)

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