John C. Calhoun as a later prophet



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John C. Calhoun’s amazing political career which extended from 1810 to 1850 consisted of three phases: nationalist, nullifier, and sectionalist and slavery advocate. The transitions between phases in his political philosophy were outgrowths of the situations which were affecting the future of the Union. Thus, Calhoun felt that his changes in political philosophy were necessitated, because there were imminent dangers which were threatening the welfare of the United States, and it was in the defense against the dangers of disunion that Calhoun erected his philosophy of government from both ancient and contemporary sources. Calhoun, however, did not confine himself to the past and present, for he anticipated the development of other events and philosophies of government which are presently considered to be detrimental to the system of capitalism. Calhoun thought, however, that he could prevent the destruction of both capitalism and slavery by persuading the conservative interests of both the North and South to unite against the forces of revolt, abolitionism and socialism. Both of these philosophies, Calhoun contended, were attacks upon the right to own property and both endangered the continuance of the Union. Calhoun asserted that if his prophetic warnings were ignored, wretchedness, misery, and despair would result, because the Union would have to suffer a Civil War which could only lead to racial conflict and a new form of slavery. Also, the United States would have to endure a class conflict which would be the result of exploitation of the proletariat by the capitalists and the federal government. The foregoing, Calhoun claimed, could only lead to governments by the “numerical majority� or “mobocracy.� Thus, Calhoun constricted the principle of “concurrent majority� and the theory of nullification to protect the constitutional rights of the minority against the “self-interests� of an indiscriminate majority.



John C. Calhoun's, nullifier, nationalist, sectionalist, slavery advocate, change political philosophy, concurrent majority