Notes on John C. Calhoun, A Disquisition on Government, () But “this [ social] state cannot exist without government”, and “In no age or country has any . A Disquisition on Government [John C. Calhoun, H. Lee Cheek Jr.] on Amazon. com. *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. This volume provides the most. Written between and , John C. Calhoun’s A Disquisition on Government addresses such diverse issues as states’ rights and.

Author: Tobar Vushura
Country: Mauritania
Language: English (Spanish)
Genre: History
Published (Last): 20 August 2012
Pages: 22
PDF File Size: 16.47 Mb
ePub File Size: 6.49 Mb
ISBN: 846-6-16526-638-8
Downloads: 66848
Price: Free* [*Free Regsitration Required]
Uploader: Fausar

It has led, not only to mistakes in the attempts to form such governments, but to their overthrow, when they have, by some good fortune, been correctly formed. The first and leading error which naturally arises from overlooking the distinction referred to, is, to confound the numerical majority with the people; and this so completely as to regard them as identical. The effect of this is, to make the different orders or classes in an aristocracy, or monarchy, far more jealous disquisitjon watchful of encroachment on their respective rights; and more resolute and persevering in resisting attempts to concentrate power in any one class or order.

The means of acquiring power — or, more correctly, influence — in such governments, would be the reverse. And in this may be found the reason why so few popular governments have been properly constructed, and why, of these few, so small a number have proved durable.

But absolute governments, of all forms, exclude all other means of resistance to their authority, than that of force; and, of course, leave no other alternative to the governed, but to acquiesce in oppression, however great it may be, or to resort to force to put down the government. govern,ent

Summary: A Disquisition On Government by John C. Calhoun | Craig W. Wright

Traced to this source, the voice of a people — uttered under the necessity of avoiding the greatest of calamities, through the organs of a government so constructed as to suppress the expression of all partial and selfish interests, and to give a full and faithful utterance to the sense of the whole community, in reference to its common welfare — may, without impiety, be called the voice of God.

Instead of the vices, by which it is acquired in that of the numerical majority, the opposite virtues—truth, justice, integrity, fidelity, and all others, by which respect and confidence are inspired, would be the most certain and effectual means of acquiring it. Direct quotes have been marked as such. To meet the necessary expenses, large sums must be collected and disbursed; and, for this purpose, heavy taxes must be imposed, requiring a multitude of officers for Edition: To man, he has assigned the social and political state, as best adapted to develop the great capacities and faculties, intellectual and moral, with which he has endowed him; and has, accordingly, constituted him so as not only to impel him into the social state, but to make government necessary for his preservation and well-being.

But the difference in their operation, in this respect, would not end here. 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.

Written in response to what Calhoun saw as the growing subjugation of the Southern United States by the more populous North, especially in terms of Northern promotion of tariff legislation and opposition to slaverythe page Disquisition promotes the idea of a concurrent majority in order to protect what he perceived to be the South’s interests. And hence the danger of withholding from government the full command of the power and resources of the state; and the great difficulty of limiting its powers consistently with the protection and preservation of the community.


Online Library of Liberty

From the nature of popular governments, the control of its powers is vested in the many; while military power, to be efficient, must be vested in a single individual.

So long as this state of things continues, exigencies will occur, in which the entire powers and resources of the community governmejt be needed to defend its existence. Throughout the early years of his career, he consistently favored extensive dusquisition assistance for internal improvements in an effort to encourage domestic commerce and farming.

More cannot be safely or rightly allotted to it. As the major and dominant party, they will have no need of these restrictions for their protection. Such an organism as this, combined with the right of suffrage, constitutes, in fact, the elements of constitutional government.

For when these, of themselves, shall exert sufficient influence to stay the hand of power, then government will be no longer necessary to protect society, nor constitutions needed to prevent government from abusing its disqkisition.

They must be administered by men in whom, like others, the individual are stronger than the social feelings. Having assumed these, as unquestionable phenomena of our ccalhoun, I shall, without further remark, proceed to the investigation of the primary and important question — S is that constitution of our nature, which, while it impels man to associate with his kind, renders it impossible for society to exist without government?

Nor, in stating that absolute governments exclude all other means of resistance to its authority than that of force, have I overlooked the case of governments of the numerical majority, which form, apparently, an exception. Taxation may, indeed, be made equal, regarded separately from disbursement.

The documents which follow the Disquisition and Discourse proceed in chronological order. The advantages of possessing the control of the powers of the government, and, thereby, of its honors and emoluments, are, of themselves, exclusive of all other considerations, ample to divide even such a community into two great hostile parties.

The necessary consequence of taking the sense of the community by the concurrent majority is, as has been explained, to give to each interest or portion of the community a negative on the others.

These ideas are convincing if one shares Calhoun’s conviction that a functioning concurrent majority never leads to stalemate in the legislature; rather, talented statesmen, practiced in the arts of conciliation and compromise would pursue “the common good”, [6] however explosive the issue. When serious wrangling erupted between Adams and Calhoun who as jhn was also the presiding officer of the Senate over the respective powers of the executive and the legislature, the controversy spilled over into a series of public letters.

Liberty would be sacrificed if Americans allowed the abuse of presidential patronage that was threatening to destroy the delicate balance between liberty and power established by the Constitution. A broader position may, indeed, be taken; viz.

John C. Calhoun, A Disquisition on Government – PhilPapers

When that project is completed, it will represent the single most comprehensive source of Calhoun scholarship, bringing together literally thousands of documents and writings of John Calhoun. Among the other advantages which governments of the concurrent have over those of the numerical majority — and which strongly illustrates their more popular character, is — that they admit, with safety, a much greater extension of the right of suffrage.

But, although society and government are thus intimately connected with and dependent on each other — of the xalhoun society is the greater. Instead of a matter of necessity, it is one of the most difficult tasks imposed on man to form a constitution worthy of the name; while, to form a perfect one — one that would completely counteract the tendency of government to oppression and abuse, and hold it strictly to the great ends for which it is ordained — has thus far exceeded human wisdom, and possibly ever will.


These are the objects most eagerly sought of all others by the talented and aspiring; and the possession of which commands the greatest respect and admiration. In doing this, it accomplishes all it possibly can accomplish. The limited reason and faculties of man, the great diversity of language, customs, pursuits, situation and complexion, and the difficulty of intercourse, with various gogernment causes, have, by their operation, formed a great many dalhoun communities, acting independently of each other.

It is true that, in such governments, the minor and subject party, for the time, have the right to oppose and resist the major and dominant party, for the time, through the ballot box; and may turn them out, and take their Edition: Constitution is the contrivance of man, while government is hohn Divine ordination.

It follows, also, that government has its origin in this twofold constitution of his nature; the sympathetic or social feelings constituting the remote — and the individual or direct, the proximate cause.

Liberty leaves each free to pursue the course he may deem best to promote his interest and happiness, as far as it may be compatible with the primary end for which government is ordained—while security gives assurance to each, that he shall not be deprived of the fruits of his Edition: On the contrary, nothing is more difficult than to equalize the action of the government, in reference to the various and diversified interests of the community; and nothing more easy than to pervert its powers into instruments to aggrandize and enrich one or more interests by oppressing and impoverishing the others; and this too, under the operation of laws, couched in general terms — and which, on their face, appear fair and equal.

Charles de Secondat Montesquieu – – Lawbook Exchange. A Disquisition on Government. Liberty leaves each free to pursue the course he may deem best to promote his interest and happiness, as far as it may be compatible with the primary end for which government is ordained — while security gives assurance to each, that he shall not be deprived of the fruits of his exertions to better his condition. Calhoun found himself in the dilemma of privately opposing a measure supported by the administration he was a part of.

Added to PP index Total downloads 8of 2, Recent downloads 6 months 3of 2, How can I increase my downloads? But of what possible avail could the strict construction of the minor party be, against the liberal interpretation of the major, when the one would have all the powers of the government to carry its construction into effect — and the other be deprived of all means of enforcing its construction?

As, then, the right of suffrage, without some other provision, cannot counteract this tendency of government, the next question for consideration is — What is that other provision? When this right is properly guarded, and the people sufficiently enlightened to understand their own rights and the interests of the community, and duly to appreciate the motives and conduct of those appointed to make and execute the laws, it is all-sufficient to give to those who elect, effective control over those they have elected.