John C. Calhoun Vindicated

This essay was first printed in the Southern Partisan Magazine, Volume III, Number 1 (1983).


One hundred and forty years ago, Senator Henry Clay proposed a constitutional amendment to limit the veto power of the president of the United States. Senator John C. Calhoun replied to Clay; and that speech in reply is the most succinct version of Calhoun’s famous doctrine of concurrent majorities. Calhoun argued, in effect, that there ought to exist several powers of veto upon the impulses of temporary numerical majorities.

“As the Government approaches nearer and nearer to the one absolute and single power, the will of the greater number, its action will become more and more disturbed and irregular; faction, corruption and anarchy, will more and more abound; patriotism will daily decay, and affection and reverence for the Government grow weaker and weaker until the final shock occurs, when the system will rush to ruin; and the sword take the place of law and Constitution.” So Calhoun said in 1842.

The will of the greater number or, at least, the will of the Washington lobbies that claim to represent the greater number—generally prevails in American politics during these closing decades of the twentieth century. In our time, Chief Justice Warren and his colleagues, in their infinite wisdom reduced all political representation to a mathematical Benthamite basis, what John Randolph called King Numbers. What Calhoun described as “the numerical, or absolute majority” has triumphed altogether over the “concurrent majority” that he advocated.

During the same period the American Republic has ceased to be a nation of states. Deliberate centralization of power has reduced the states to a condition little better than that of provinces in an empire. Even squabbles between children and schoolteachers are gravely accepted for trial in federal district courts. The rising generation in this country is unaware that most of the centralization did not occur until the administration of President Lyndon John-son.

During the latter half of the twentieth century, increasingly the federal government has divided the American people into two fiscal classes: those who pay the taxes and those who receive personal benefits from federal expenditures. This scheme of “transfer payments” will be egalitarian tyranny, Calhoun declared. The system already is deeply rooted.

Those are only three of the more important alterations in the Constitution of the United States, which had no stronger adherent —even in 1832—than Calhoun. These changes have been effected, chiefly in the past half century, without either formal amendment of the Constitution or conscious popular assent. Calhoun foresaw their coming. The unhappy consequences of these alterations are not yet fully felt. They will be.

Read the entire article, hey….this is part of our HISTORY that so many know nothing about (probably because democrats are hiding our history bit by bit by removing from books and no longer teaching in any school.

Now go and read it all HERE