Clay was born on April 12, 1777, in Hanover County, Virginia, to a middle-class family. After studying law with the eminent George Wythe, Clay, at the age of 20, moved to Lexington, Kentucky, where he developed a thriving practice. He was blessed with a quick mind, a flair for oratory, and an ability to charm both sexes with his easy, attractive manner. Clay, who was ambitious for worldly success, married into a wealthy, and socially prominent, family and soon gained entry into Kentucky's most influential cliques. While still in his 20s, he was elected to the state legislature, in which he served for six years, until 1809.
Clay established his great reputation in the United States House of Representatives,