February 10, 1857
Former lawyer, judge and U.S. Rep. Henry D. Clayton Jr. was born on this day. Clayton served as a judge of the U.S. District Courts for the Middle and Northern Districts in Alabama and in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he authored the Clayton Antitrust Act of 1914. He also is remembered for his opposition to the Ku Klux Klan. The son of a Confederate general, Clayton was born in Barbour County as one of 13 children. He attended the University of Alabama, graduating with a law degree in 1878. (His father would serve as president from 1886-89.) Clayton was elected to Congress to represent Alabama’s Third District (in central and southeastern Alabama) in 1896 for the first of what would be nine terms. A firm supporter of President Woodrow Wilson, Clayton sponsored one of the signature pieces of the Progressive Era, the Clayton Antitrust Act of 1914, which aimed to strengthen antitrust laws and improve business competition.
Read more at Encyclopedia of Alabama.
For more on Alabama’s Bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.