The United States Senate, A.D. 1850

By Peter F. Rothermel, engraved by Robert Whitechurch

Hand-colored engraving, 1855
Image Size: 27" h. x 33 13/16" w.
Catalog No. 38.00029

S-228, Old Senate Chamber

U.S. Senate Collection
Office of Senate Curator

This engraving depicts the Golden Age of the Senate in the Old Senate Chamber, site of many of the institution's most memorable events. Here, Henry Clay, "the Great Compromiser," introduces the Compromise of 1850 in his last significant act as a senator. In a desperate attempt to prevent war from erupting, the "Great Triumvirate," of Daniel Webster of Massachusetts, John C. Calhoun of South Carolina, and Clay of Kentucky struggled to balance the interests of the North, South, and West. This image shows all three men, with Clay at center stage presenting his compromise to the Senate. Today, The United States Senate, A.D. 1850, is recognized as one of the finest examples of 19th century American engraving. Originally published in limited numbers, the engraving remains a popular and very collectable work.