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Teacher's Best - The Creative Process

Notable Historic Political Leaders Posters
for the social studies classroom and home schoolers.


Thomas Hart Benton
John C. Calhoun
Lewis Cass

Henry Clay
Stephen A. Douglas
Alexander Hamilton

Sam Houston
Daniel Webster
David Wilmot

Thomas Hart Benton, US Senator from Missouri, Giclee Print
Thomas Hart Benton,
US Senator from
Missouri, Giclee Print

Thomas Hart Benton
b. 3-14-1782; North Carolina
d. 4-10-1858; Washington, DC

Thomas Hart Benton was nicknamed “Old Bullion” for his advocacy of “hard money” as opposed to paper currency. He was also a staunch supporter of the westward expansion of the United States that became known as Manifest Destiny and wrote the first Homestead Act which encouraged settlement by giving land grants to anyone willing to work the soil, thereby displacing Native peoples.

Benton served as a Tennessee state senator and later as an aide-de-camp to Andrew Jackson in the War of 1812. After dueling with Jackson – leaving a bullet in the future president – he moved to Missouri Territory in 1815 where he was elected to the U.S. Senate from Missouri five time (1821-1851) but lost reelection because he opposed slavery.

Benton's son-in-law was John C. Fremont, an explorer, Union General and presidential candidate; his great-nephew was painter Thomas Hart Benton (1889-1975).

Life of Thomas Hart Benton by Theodore Roosevelt
Profiles in Courage by John F. Kennedy

John C. Calhoun, US Vice President, Giclee Print
John C. Calhoun,
US Vice President,
Giclee Print

John C. Calhoun
b. 3-18-1782; Abbeville, South Carolina
d. 3-31-1850; Washington, DC

John Caldwell Calhoun was an influential 19th century politican who served as seventh Vice President of the Untied States (John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson), a Senator, a Congressman, Secretary of War and Secretary of State. After resigning as Jackson's VP, he returned to South Carolina to become a Senator where he is remembered as advocating states' rights, slavery, and economic issues affecting the South, eventually including secession from the Union.

John C. Calhoun quotes ~
• “The very essence of a free government consists in considering offices as public trusts, bestowed for the good of the country, and not for the benefit of an individual or a party.”
• “The interval between the decay of the old and the formation and establishment of the new constitutes a period of transition which must always necessarily be one of uncertainty, confusion, error, and wild and fierce fanaticism.”
• “Do our best, our duty for our country, and leave the rest to Providence.”
• “Protection and patriotism are reciprocal.”
• “It is harder to preserve than to obtain liberty.”
• “The Government of the absolute majority instead of the Government of the people is but the Government of the strongest interests; and when not efficiently checked, it is the most tyrannical and oppressive that can be devised.”

Lewis Cass, Democratic candidate for 12th president, Historic Print
Lewis Cass,
Democratic candidate
for 12th President,
Historic Print

Lewis Cass
b. 10-9-1782; Exeter, New Hampshire
d. 6-17-1866; Michigan

Military officer, explorer, and politican Lewis Cass served in the War of 1812, lead the expedition for the source of the Mississippi River and was a governor of the Michigan Territory, an American ambassador,a U.S. Senator representing Michigan, and 22nd Secretary of State (James Buchanan). He was also the nominee of the Democratic Party for President of the United States in 1848.

Henry Clay, Photographic Print
Henry Clay,
Photographic Print

Henry Clay
b. 4-12-1777; Hanover County, Virginia
d. 6-29-1852; Washington, DC (tuberculosis)

Lawyer, politician and skilled orator Henry Clay represented Kentucky separately in both the Senate and in the House of Representatives. He served three different terms as Speaker of the United States House of Representatives and was also Secretary of State from 1825 to 1829 (John Quincy Adams).

Clay's nicknames are “The Great Compromiser” and “The Great Pacifier” for his ability to bring others to agreement. As the founder and a leader of the Whig Party, he advocated programs for modernizing the economy, especially tariffs to protect industry, a national bank and internal improvements to promote canals, ports and railroads.

Henry Clay quotes ~
• “I have no commiseration for princes. My sympathies are reserved for the great mass of mankind ….”
• “What is the nature of this government? It is emphatically federal, vested with an aggregate of special powers for general purposes, conceded by existing sovereignties, who have themselves retained what is not so conceded. It is said that there are cases in which it must act on implied powers. This is not controverted, but the implication must be necessary, and obviously flow from enumerated power with which it is allied.”
• “All religions united with government are more or less inimical to liberty. All, separated from government, are compatible with liberty.”
• “Government is a trust, and the officers of the government are trustees; and both the trust and the trustees are created for the benefit of the people.”
• “The arts of power and its minions are the same in all countries and in all ages. It marks its victim; denounces it; and excites the public odium and the public hatred, to conceal its own abuses and encroachments.”
• “Precedents deliberately established by wise men are entitled to great weight. They are evidence of truth, but only evidence...But a solitary precedent...which has never been reexamined, cannot be conclusive.”
• “Of all the properties which belong to honorable men, not one is so highly prized as that of character.”
• “The Constitution of the United States was made not merely for the generation that then existed, but for posterity—unlimited, undefined, endless, perpetual posterity.”
• “I would rather be right than be President.”
• “It is totally unnecessary for the gentleman to remind me of my coming from a slaveholding state. I know whence I came, and I know my duty, and I am ready to submit to any responsibility which belongs to me as a senator from a slaveholding state. I have heard something said on this and a former occasion about allegiance to the South. I know no South, no North, no East, no West, to which I owe any allegiance. I owe allegiance to two sovereignty, and only two: one is the sovereignty of this Union, and the other is the sovereignty of the state of Kentucky. My allegiance is to this Union and to my state; but if gentlemen suppose they can exact from me an acknowledgement of allegiance to any ideal or future contemplated confederacy of the South, I here declare that I owe no allegiance to it; nor will I, for one, come under any such allegiance if I can avoid it.”

FYI ~ Henry Clay was sued by his slave Charlotte Dupuy in 1829 for freedom.

Stephen A. Douglas, Photographic Print
Stephen A. Douglas, Photographic Print

Stephen A. Douglas
b. 4-23-1813; Brandon, VT
d. 6-3-1861; Chicago, IL

Stephen A. Douglas (Democrat) is best remembered for his debates with Abraham Lincoln (Republican) in 1858 during the Illinois Senate campaign. At the time of U.S. senators were elected by state legislatures (the 17th Amendment allowed for direct election 1913); thus Lincoln and Douglas were vying for their respective parties to win control of the Illinois legislature. Douglas became the senator, two years later Lincoln defeated Douglas for the presidency.

FYI ~ Stephen A. Douglas had briefly courted Mary Todd who would later marry Lincoln.

Alexander Hamilton on the Ten Dollar Bill, Photographic Print
Alexander Hamilton
on the Ten Dollar Bill,
Photographic Print

Alexander Hamilton
b. 1-11-1755; Nevis Isl, Caribbean
d. 7-12-1804; died as result of wound suffered in duel with Aaron Burr

Alexander Hamilton was a Founding Father, Hero of the American Revolution, aide-de-camp to General Washington, primary author of The Federalist Papers supporting a strong central government, founder of the Coast Guard, and the first Secretary of the Treasury.

money posters

Sam Houston, with His Signature, Giclee Print
Sam Houston, with His Signature, Giclee Print

Sam Houston
b. 3-2-1793; Rockbridge Co., Shenandoah Valley, VA
d. 7-26-1863; Huntsville, TX

Statesman, politician, and soldier Sam Houston is best known for his leading Texas into the Union and being the namesake of the fourth-largest city in the United States.

FYI - Houston lived with the Cherokee for a time as a young and again in the 1830s. He was adopted by Ahuludegi, also known by John Jolly.

Daniel Webster, U.S. Statesman and Lawyer, Giclee Print
Daniel Webster, U.S. Statesman and Lawyer,
Giclee Print

Daniel Webster
b. 1-18-1782; Salisbury, New Hampshire
d. 10-24-1852; Marshfield, MA

Daniel Webster, a leading statesman during the time between the founding of the US and the Civil War (Antebellum period), was one of the most famous orators in American history.

Webster served two terms in the US House of Repsentatives for New Hampshire before he moved his family to Boston to increase his law practice. While in Boston he became famous, and highly paid, arguing cases before the US Supreme Court which included McCulloch v. Maryland. In 1822 he was elected to represent Massachusetts in the House, and in 1829 in the Senate. He was also twice Secretary of State: 14th and 19th Secretary of State under William Henry Harrison/John Tyler and Millard Fillmore.

Webster has a checkered reputation - aa a fierce supporter of the Union, he accepted gradituties that supported an opulant lifestyle far beyond his means otherwise, and was obsessed on being president.

The 1936 short story by Stephen Vincent Benet, The Devil and Daniel Webster, is set in New Hampshire and features a fictional version of Daniel Webster.

David Wilmot, with His Signature, Giclee Print
David Wilmot, with His Signature, Giclee Print

David Wilmot
b. 1-20-1814; Bethany, PA
d. 3-16-1868; Towanda, PA

David Wilmot sponsored what is called the Wilmot Proviso which would have banned slavery in any territory to be acquired from Mexico in the Mexican War or in the future, in the Mexican-American War of 1846-48.

The Proviso failed to garner enough votes and wasn't included in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, causing sectional conflict over slavery up to the Compromise of 1850.

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