Witnessing History Releases First Documentary Ever Produced on Henry Clay of Kentucky

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"Henry Clay and the Struggle for the Union" chronicles the compromises that forestalled America's Civil War for more than 40 years. New documentary film explores the span of history from the ratification of the Constitution to the Confederate forces' attack on Fort Sumter.

henry clay historic paintings civil war

Nearly twenty museums and historical societies contributed period paintings, photographs and documents to the documentary, with many of the pieces being captured for the first time ever on film.

Henry Clay and the Struggle for the Union delves into the intricacies of our nation's history like never before, telling the story of the man who promoted 'honorable compromise' for the greater good of the nation.

As the nation commemorates the Civil War sesquicentennial, a new documentary film explores the decades long incubation of the tragedy that eventually claimed more than one million lives. Chronicling the span of America’s history from the ratification of the Constitution to the Confederate forces’ attack on Fort Sumter, "Henry Clay and the Struggle for the Union" is the first documentary film ever produced about the statesman who obviated disunion and civil war for more than 40 years. The hour-long documentary, written and hosted by historian Kent Masterson Brown, was produced for public television by Witnessing History, LLC. The film premieres on Kentucky’s PBS affiliate, KET, on June 13 at 10:00 p.m., with ten additional airdates currently scheduled on the KET network.

“'Henry Clay and the Struggle for the Union' delves into the intricacies of our nation’s history like never before, telling the story of the man who promoted ‘honorable compromise’ for the greater good of the nation,” commented Executive Producer Thomas P. Dupree, Sr. “It’s a great honor to play a part in bringing this story to life.”

Period paintings, photographs and documents, footage of the Old Senate Chamber in the Nation’s capitol, and dramatic scenes portraying Henry Clay and his colleagues, illustrate the story of those who sought mutual concession to quell the eruptions of conflict between slave states and free states. Nearly twenty museums and historical societies, including the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; the Library of Congress; Cincinnati Art Museum; The National Archives; Metropolitan Museum of Art; Boston Museum of Fine Arts; Ashland: The Henry Clay Estate; Filson Historical Society; and the Virginia Historical Society contributed to the documentary, with many of the pieces being captured for the first time ever on film.

“The documentary explores the impact of slavery on the westward expansion of the nation and how the conflict between North and South was, in the end, irrepressible,” said writer, producer and host Kent Masterson Brown. “History is nothing but lessons and there is much we can glean from Clay’s political career and the Compromises of 1820, 1833 and 1850.”

The program was directed by Douglas High, who collaborated with Kent Masterson Brown on the award-winning Witnessing History films Retreat from Gettysburg and Bourbon and Kentucky: A History Distilled. Brown, a native of Lexington, Kentucky, has practiced law in both Lexington and Washington, D.C. for 36 years. He is also a well respected historian, author and lecturer who has received numerous awards for his work in Civil War history and historic preservation. High has nearly 20 years of experience in broadcast production and management and is currently a news anchor for Lexington’s ABC 36. He also proudly serves as a Public Affairs Officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve.

The film was made possible due to underwriting support from Dupree Mutual Funds, the Lexington Convention and Visitors Bureau, Transylvania University, the McConnell Center for Political Leadership and Michael Rowady, Esq.

DVDs of "Henry Clay and the Struggle for the Union" are available for purchase online at http://www.witnessinghistoryonline.com and http://www.amazon.com.    For PBS Kentucky airdates, visit http://www.ket.org.

About Witnessing History, LLC
Witnessing History was founded in 2007 by nationally recognized, award-winning author and historian Kent Masterson Brown and award-winning producer and director Douglas High. The mission of Witnessing History is to break new ground in producing unique broadcast and DVD historical documentary programs in High Definition, as well as offering books authored by Mr. Brown and hosting guided Civil War battlefield tours staged throughout the year. http://www.witnessinghistoryonline.com

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