If you want to know an american bad-ass in American history, look no further then Cassius Marcellus Clay. There is a lot to be said about this man. He was a planter, printer, politician, but most importantly he was an emancipation-ist who worked nearly his entire life to abolish slavery. He freed slaves that were handed down to his father and those free slaves stayed on his land and were paid for a wage. Did I mention this man was raised in Kentucky? So naturally everyone else was pissed off at this man for having paid workers instead of you know…slaves.
Clay was elected to three terms in the Kentucky House of Representatives. However he lost a lot of support in Kentucky due to being anti-slavery. Which is absurd, but I digress. His anti-slavery activism earned him a lot of violent enemies. During a political debate in 1843, he survived an assassination attempt by a hired gun, named Sam Brown. Brown shot Clay in the chest but I believe his Bowie knife stopped the bullet.
Now if you want to know how big a Bowie knife is, well here you go. FYI these knives were designed for hunting and skinning. So when Clay drew his Bowie knife and tackled Brown to the ground well…Let’s just say Clay went to town. Brown got his eye cut out, almost lost an ear and was repeatedly slashed in the face to the point where everyone thought he was going to die. Which is understandable when you have a six inch blade carving into your skull. Brown would survive and would later sue Clay for causing mayhem. Even though Brown was a would be assassin. Clay was not convicted thanks to his cousin Henry Clay. What’s even more fascinating about all of this was that Clay forgave Brown and even talked about it saying, “I felt very friendly to Brown, and wrote him a note thanking him for his evidence and telling him I was willing to be friends with him if he cared to be so. He refused, however, to bury the hatchet, and when I remembered his condition I did not wonder at it. The doctors had patched him up pretty well, but he was a horrible looking object, and I expected that he would insist upon a duel with me, or would attack me and have his revenge. I met him several times afterward, however, and he never touched me. I have no doubt that he staid in Lexington intending to kill me, but the probability is that he had not the courage to attack me.”
This is just one instance of an assassination attempt. Apparently this guy got into so many fights/battles that he had cannonballs in his house in case a mob ever came to his home. Which happened I think twice. But what’s crazier is that Clay was appointed by President Abraham Lincoln as the United States minister to Russia during the American Civil War. And it was thanks to Clay that Russia supported the union. Not only that but Russia also persuaded Great Britain and France to support the union as well, which is pretty crazy. Also Clay was influential in the negotiations for the purchase of Alaska thanks to his position in Russia.
Honestly I would never fuck with this man. Everything he did was awesome and bad-ass (until his twilight years where he lost his mind and married someone who was way, way, waaay younger than he was.) But still this man had done a lot for the United States and we should appreciate what he did for the country. (Even if he was a creepy old man in his later years.) So I raise my beer to you Cassius Marcellus Clay, for your diplomacy and fighting prowess you crazy, majestic, bastard.
For more info on Clay, you can check out his Wikipedia page, or check out the podcast called ‘The Dollop” where I originally found out about this man.