Clayton, John Middleton, 1796–1856, American statesman, b. Sussex co., Del. Admitted (1819) to the bar, he practiced at Dover, Del., held many state offices, and was twice (1828, 1845) elected to the U.S. Senate. In the presidential election of 1848 he gave his support to Zachary Taylor and was rewarded with the position of Secretary of State, an office he held until Taylor's death in 1850. As Secretary of State he negotiated the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty, which checked British expansion in Central America and temporarily settled a rivalry that had brought England and the United States into conflict. He reentered the Senate in 1852.
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