Henry Clay's early career was spent as a Kentucky lawyer. His most notable case was as counsel for Aaron Burr's in his trial for attempting to establish his own empire in the American Southwest.
In 1811, Clay was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Kentucky. During his service, he strongly supported the Missouri Compromise. He ran for President in 1824, losing out to John Quincy Adams. Adams appointed Clay his Secretary of State.
Clay resigned from the Senate in 1842 and was nominated by the Whigs for the election of 1844. This time he lost to James K. Polk.
Clay returned to the Senate in 1849. He died of tuberculosis in 1852.