Noted orator Daniel Webster (1782-1852) and Henry Clay (1777-1852) were rivals for leadership of the Whig Party. In the early 1840s Webster tried unsuccessfully to build political support outside the party. In his speech on May 2 he downplayed differences with Clay and endorsed Clay’s nomination for president. Claude Moore Fuess, Daniel Webster, vol. 2, 1830-1852 (Boston: Little, Brown, 1930): 143; Irving H. Bartlett, Daniel Webster (New York: W. W. Norton, 1978), 187.