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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There is but one way in which this can possibly be done; and that is, by such an organism as will furnish the ruled with the means of resisting successfully this tendency on the part of the rulers to oppression and abuse. In today’s hyper- selfconscious, highly jojn, overly-diversified, and confirmedly activist society, interests abound and proliferate to the extent that interest itself becomes merely a unit of the overwhelmingly numerous numerical majority.

In no other, indeed, could he exist; and in no other—were it possible for him to exist—could he attain to a full development of his moral and intellectual faculties, or raise himself, in the scale of being, much above the level of the brute creation.

Online Library of Liberty

Nor is this the case in some particular communities only. In order to have a clear disquisitoon just conception of the nature and object of government, it is indispensable to understand correctly what that constitution or law governmeny our nature is, in which government originates; or, gvoernment express it more fully and accurately — that law, without which government would not, and with which, it must necessarily exist.

For this purpose large establishments are necessary, both civil and military including naval, where, from situation, that description of force may be required with all the means necessary for prompt and effective action—such as fortifications, fleets, armories, arsenals, magazines, arms of all descriptions, with well-trained forces, in sufficient numbers to wield them with skill and energy, whenever the occasion requires it.

Many Southerners, in particular, thought the tariff had stopped being a means of raising revenue for national defense and was becoming a permanent means of protecting and subsidizing goveernment interests at the Edition: All constitutional governments, of whatever class they may be, take the sense of the community by its parts—each through its appropriate organ; and regard the sense of all its parts, as the sense of the whole.

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

However that may be, there is no denying the prophetic truth of one of A Discourse’ s wisest and most farseeing passagesin which Calhoun glimpses the twentieth-century mass-democratic political machine in action. Each collects the sense of the majority. Nor would the fact that the former would constitute a majority of the community, counteract a tendency originating in the constitution of man; and which, as such, cannot depend on the number by whom the powers of the government may be wielded.


The sum total, then, of its effects, when most successful, is, to make those elected, the true and faithful representatives of those who elected them—instead of irresponsible rulers—as they would be without it; and thus, by converting it into an governmwnt, and the rulers jihn agents, to divest government of all claims to sovereignty, and to retain it unimpaired to the community.

Indeed, these, with other improvements, belonging to the present state of progress, have given to communities the most advanced, a superiority over those the least so, almost as calohun as that of the latter over the brute creation.

Under this scenario, the political leadership would improve and persist, corruption and demagoguery would subside, and the interests of the people would be honored.

The other — the concurrent majority — regards interests as well as numbers and takes the sense of each interest through its majority or appropriate organ. You are commenting using your Facebook gogernment. So long as this state of things continues, exigencies will occur, in which fisquisition entire powers and resources of the community will be needed to defend its existence.

A disquisition on government

Rural, urban, and suburban? But the duration, dixquisition uncertainty of the tenure, by which power is held, cannot, of itself, counteract the tendency inherent in government to oppression and abuse of power.

I intentionally avoid the expression, selfish feelings, johhn applicable to the former; because, as commonly used, it implies an unusual excess of the individual over the social feelings, in the person to whom it is applied; and, consequently, something depraved and vicious.

At this stage, principles and policy would lose all influence in the elections; and cunning, falsehood, deception, slander, fraud, and gross appeals to the appetites of the lowest and most worthless portions of the community, would take the place of sound reason and wise debate. It may be readily inferred, from what has been stated, that the effect of organism is neither to supersede nor diminish the importance of the right of suffrage; but to aid and perfect it.

For they who fall into these errors regard the restrictions which organism imposes on the will of the numerical majority as restrictions on the will of the people, and, therefore, as not only useless, but wrongful and mischievous. Instead, he became a sectionalist, convinced by the accelerating divergence of interest between the North and the South, and by the increasing power of the former unfairly to press its advantage, that only a rearrangement of the political balance could save the Union in the long run.


Social conservative and New Age? It is, accordingly, found that in the violent strifes between parties for the high and glittering prize of governmental honors and emoluments—falsehood, injustice, fraud, artifice, slander, and breach of faith, are freely resorted to, as legitimate weapons—followed by all their corrupting and debasing influences.

The two are the opposites of each other. He provides a rigorous analysis of virtually all of the major individuals, events, and documents of the founding and subsequent development of the federal government. jonn

As the major and dominant party, they will have no need of these restrictions for their protection. For each, at the same moment, intensely participating in all the conflicting emotions of those around him, would, of course, forget himself and all that concerned him immediately, in his officious intermeddling with the affairs of all others; which, from his limited reason and faculties, he could neither properly understand nor manage.

With them, profitable employments govwrnment diminished to the same extent, and population and wealth correspondingly decreased.

US Political Thought, Notes on Calhoun’s A Disquisition on Government

Much of his energy in his last years was devoted to writing what was to become the Disquisition and the Discourse. It is, accordingly, found that in the violent strifes between parties for the high and glittering prize of governmental honors and emoluments — falsehood, injustice, fraud, artifice, slander, and breach of faith, are freely resorted to, as legitimate weapons — followed by cisquisition their corrupting and debasing influences.

In his six letters, Calhoun argued against the prerogatives claimed by Adams. Some are physical — such as open and exposed johnn, surrounded by powerful and hostile neighbors. Calhhoun same cause, which, in governments of the numerical majority, gives to party attachments and antipathies such force, as to place party triumph and ascendency above the safety and prosperity of the community, will just as certainly give them sufficient force to overpower all regard for truth, justice, sincerity, and moral obligations of every description.