Note: This entire post is a paraphrase of Calhoun’s work. Direct quotes have been marked as such. Summary Man is a social being and. A Disquisition on Government. By John C. Calhoun In , when President Clinton nominated Lani Guinier, a legal scholar at Harvard, to be the first. A Disquisition on Government [John C. Calhoun, H. Lee Cheek Jr.] on Amazon. com. *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. This volume provides the most.

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Consider trial by jury, which requires a unanimous concurrence for a verdict to be reached.

Many Southerners believed Calhoun’s warnings, contained in the Disquisition and in his many other writings and speeches, and read every political news story from the North as further evidence of the planned destruction of the southern way of life.

In none is it stronger than in man. To their successful application may be fairly traced the subsequent advance of our race in civilization and intelligence, of which we now enjoy the benefits. Against the former but two objections can be made. And hence, when the two come into conflict, liberty must, and ever ought, to yield to protection; as the existence of the race fisquisition of greater moment than its cqlhoun.

This, too, can governmennt accomplished only in one way — and that joh, by such an organism of the government — and, if necessary for the purpose, of the community also — as will, by dividing and distributing the powers of government, give to each division or interest, through its appropriate organ, either a concurrent voice in making and executing the laws, or a veto on their execution.

The object of the latter is, to collect the sense of the community.

Now it was evident for all to see that the reintroduction of the doctrine of nullification—the right of a single state to negate the laws of the federal government within its jurisdiction—was the work of none other than the Vice-President of the United States. It is only when aided by a proper organism, that it can collect the sense of the entire community — of each and all its interests; of each, through its appropriate organ, and of the whole, through all of them united. These, as has been stated, are twofold; to protect, and to perfect society.

I am especially appreciative of the research support of Judy Bundy for her work on Calhoun, and of Glenn Gadbois, whose service in the last stages of this manuscript have been invaluable; the patience of countless unnamed students whose long-delayed papers have made it possible for me to find the needed time to work on this project; and last, but by no means least, the moral support of my best friend and mother, whose innumerable hours of cutting and pasting have finally come to fruition.

Constitution stands to government as government stands to society. Such, indeed, is the repugnance between popular governments and force—or, to be more specific—military power—that the almost necessary consequence of a resort to force, by such governments, in order to maintain their authority, is, not only a change of their form, but a change into the most opposite—that of absolute monarchy.

If Calhoun intended the states to exercise such a power, why did he not say so explicitly? The climax came a decade after Calhoun’s death with the election of Republican Abraham Lincoln inwhich led to the secession of South Carolina, followed by six other Southern states. The minority party, when it becomes the majority, then follows the precedent. If the rights of the individual constitute the ultimate test of minority rights, how can a concurrent majority system, which vests power in a few, great interests, be an adequate safeguard for the rights of the individual in society?


And hence, the tendency to a universal state of conflict, between individual and individual; accompanied by the connected passions of suspicion, jealousy, anger and revenge—followed by insolence, fraud and cruelty—and, if not prevented by some controlling power, ending in a state of universal discord and confusion, destructive of the social state and the ends for which it is ordained.

A Disquisition on Government – Wikipedia

This decided, the election would pass off quietly, and without party discord; as no one portion could advance its own peculiar interest without disquisihion to the rest, by electing a favorite candidate.

Although aware of the limited capability of reasoned discourse to resolve the tensions and centrifugal forces of nineteenth century America, Calhoun turned increasingly in the last few years of his life to questions of philosophy. So long as this state of things continues, exigencies will occur, in which the entire powers and resources of the community will be needed to defend its existence. To the neoconservative National Review calhoin, the name Calhoun signaled–besides a defense of slavery–disunionism, disloyalism, extremism, treason.

Nor is it surprising, that under their joint influence, the community should cease to be the common diisquisition of attachment, or that each party should find that centre only in itself. Such a division may do much to facilitate its operations, and to secure to its administration greater caution and deliberation; but as each and all the departments — and, of course, the entire government — would be under the control of the numerical majority, it is too clear to require explanation, that a goovernment distribution of disqisition powers among its agents or representatives, govenrment do little or dalhoun to counteract its tendency to oppression and abuse of power.

Such, indeed, is the repugnance between popular governments and force — or, to be more specific — military power — that the almost necessary consequence of a resort to force, by such governments, in order disquisltion maintain their authority, is, not only a change of their form, but a change into the most opposite — that of absolute monarchy.

The assertion is true in reference to all constitutional governments, be their forms what they may. Its effect, then, is, to cause the different interests, portions, or orders — as the case lay be — to desist from attempting to adopt any measure calculated to promote the prosperity of one, or more, by sacrificing that of others; and thus to force them to unite falhoun such measures only as would promote the prosperity of all, as the only means to prevent the suspension of the action of the government — and, thereby, to avoid anarchy, the greatest of all evils.

But the main spring to their development, and, through this, to progress, improvement and civilization, with all their blessings, is the desire of individuals to better their condition.

To come within this description, a question must assume a legal form, for forensic litigation and judicial decision.


Online Library of Liberty

Each, in consequence, has a greater regard for his own safety or happiness, than for the safety or happiness of others; and, governmen these come in opposition, is ready to sacrifice the interests of others to his own.

And among the civilized, the same causes have decided the question of superiority, where other circumstances are nearly equal, in favor of those whose governments have given the greatest impulse to development, progress, and improvement; that is, to those whose liberty is the largest and best secured. House of Representatives in They all rest on the right of suffrage, and the responsibility of rulers, directly or indirectly.

The reasons assigned would not be calhlun if the proceeds of the taxes were paid in tribute, or expended in foreign countries. For this purpose many devices have been resorted to, suited to the various stages of intelligence and civilization through which our race has passed, and to the different forms of government to which they have been applied.

Union and Liberty: The Political Philosophy of John C. Calhoun – Online Library of Liberty

I call it the constitutional majority, because it is an essential element in every constitutional government — be its form what it may. Freehlingis how a compromise would be achieved in the aftermath of a minority veto, when the ubiquitous demagogues betray their constituencies and abandon the concurrent majority altogether.

In asserting that our individual are stronger than our social feelings, it is not intended to deny that there are instances, growing out of peculiar relations — as that of a mother and her infant — or resulting from the force of education and habit over peculiar constitutions, in which the latter have overpowered the former; but these instances are few, and always regarded as something extraordinary.

Among these, the trial by jury is the most familiar, and on that account, will be selected for illustration. Others are moral — such as the different degrees of intelligence, patriotism, and virtue among the mass of the community, and their experience and proficiency in the art of self-government.

But such is not the case. Cxlhoun hope it will not be thought presumptuous caalhoun borrow here the words of Niccolo Machiavelli: Veto power was linked to the right of secession, which portended anarchy and social chaos.

With these remarks, I return from this digression, to resume the thread of the discourse. For this purpose, a struggle will take place between the various interests to obtain a majority, in order to control the government.

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The object of the latter is, to collect the sense of the community. The minor and subject party would become the major and dominant party, with the same absolute authority and tendency to abuse power; and the major and dominant party would become the minor and subject party, with the same right to resist through the ballot box; and, if successful, disqiusition to change relations, with like effect.