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A Kentucky Cuckoo’s Egg

The Clay-Randolph Duel of 1826

Kate Cooch

Copyright © 2012 Katherine Cooch Rau,

All rights reserved. No part of this publication can be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, without permission in writing from Katherine Cooch Rau (Kate Cooch).

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The Code Explained

Famous Duels in Virginia

Fairfax County’s Most Famous Duel

The End of Dueling

About the Author

End Notes

Can you imagine the secretary of state and a powerful, longtime senator arguing at a Senate hearing? Definitely, right? Now imagine that confrontation escalating when one of the two claims the other has hurt his reputation and that the disagreement must be dealt with through a duel. While this scenario might seem ridiculous, arguments were resolved in this manner in the United States for hundreds of years. The practice of dueling occurred throughout the US, including in Virginia, and more specifically, in Fairfax County. This particular scenario, of the secretary of state and a senator fighting to the death over politics, took place in Fairfax County’s most famous duel—the one between Secretary of State Henry Clay and Senator John Randolph.

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