Henry Clay

Speech before the U.S. Senate
January 29, 1850

I am directly opposed to any purpose of secession, of separation. I am for staying with the Union, and defying any portion of this Union to expel or drive me out of the Union. I am for staying within the Union and fighting for my rights -- if necessary, with the sword -- within the bounds and under the safeguard of the Union. I am for vindicating these rights; but not by being driven out of the Union rashly and unceremoniously by any portion of this confederacy. Here I am within it, and here I mean to stand and die -- as far as my individual purposes or wishes can go -- within it to protect myself, and to defy all power upon earth to expel me or drive me from the situation in which I am placed. Will there not be more safety in fighting within the Union than without it? ...

I think that the Constitution of the thirteen states was made not merely for the generation which then existed but for posterity, undefined, unlimited, permanent, and perpetual; for their prosperity; and for every subsequent state which might come into the Union, binding themselves by that indissoluble bond.... The dissolution of the Union and war are identical and inseparable; they are convertible terms.


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