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.

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Jhn has, accordingly, in common with them, the same tendency to oppression and abuse of power. 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.

Indeed, however imperfect the organism, it must have more or less effect in diminishing such tendency. The first and leading disquistiion which arises from overlooking the distinction between the numerical majority and the concurrent majority is to confound bovernment numerical majority with the people as a whole.

But the tendency is much stronger in constitutional governments of the democratic form to degenerate into their respective absolute forms, than in either of the others; because, among other reasons, the distinction between the constitutional and absolute forms of aristocratical and monarchical governments, is far more strongly marked than in democratic governments. Toward Calhoun indifference was impossible.

Nor can it be otherwise, unless what is collected from each individual in the shape of taxes, shall be returned to him, in that of disbursements; which clahoun make the process nugatory and absurd.

Being the party in possession of the government, they will, from the same constitution of man which makes government necessary to protect society, be in favor of the powers granted by the constitution, and opposed to the restrictions intended to limit them. The cause is to be found in the same constitution of our nature which makes government indispensable.

Inat the age of twenty, Calhoun entered Yale University as a junior. And hence, colonies, from countries having constitutional governments, if left to themselves, usually adopt governments based on the numerical majority. I defer to the assertion, that all men are equal in the state of nature; meaning, by a state of cisquisition, a state of individuality, supposed to have existed prior to the social and political state; and in which men lived apart and independent of each other.

Politicians and bureaucrats would succumb to the lure of government lucre accumulated through taxation, tariff duties and public disqjisition sales. Calhoun’s stance assumed that with the establishment of a concurrent majority, minority groups would influence their own representatives sufficiently to have a voice in public affairs; the representatives would perform strictly as high-minded public servants.

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


Online Library of Liberty

In the presidential campaign ofhe decided to limit his obvious ambitions for the time being and settled into the vice-presidency under the administration of John Quincy Adams.

The only difference in this respect is, that in the government disquisirion a majority, the minority may become the majority, and the majority the minority, through the right of suffrage; and thereby change their relative positions, without the intervention of force and revolution.

Individuals would have to be encouraged, by rewards, to become more selfish, and deterred, by punishments, from being too benevolent; and this, too, by a government, administered by those who, on the supposition, would have the greatest aversion for selfishness and the highest admiration for benevolence. He wrote as he spoke, sometimes negligently, yet always plainly and forcibly, and it is due to his own character, as well as disuqisition the public expectation, that his views should be presented in the plain and disquosition garb in which he left them.

But the dread of such a resort must necessarily lead the government to prepare to meet force in order to protect itself; and hence, of necessity, force becomes the conservative principle of all such governments.

But the most it can do, of itself, is to collect the sense of the greater number; that is, of the stronger interests, or combination of interests; and to assume this to be the sense of the community. 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.

Be it which it may, the minority, for the time, will be as much the governed or subject portion, as are the people in an aristocracy, or the subjects in a monarchy.

It is this mutual negative among its various conflicting interests, which invests each with the power of protecting itself — and places the rights and safety of each, where only they can be securely placed, under its own guardianship. The seeds of this doctrine were introduced by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison in the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions of and Nor is it less certain, from the operation of all these causes, that the dominant majority, for the time, would have the same tendency to oppression Edition: From the same cause, there is a like tendency in aristocratical to terminate in absolute governments of the monarchical form; but by no means as strong, because there is less repugnance between military power and aristocratical, than between it and democratical governments.

It is thus, that, in such governments, devotion to party becomes stronger than devotion to country — the promotion of the interests of party more important than the promotion of the common good of the whole, and its triumph and ascendency, objects of far greater solicitude, than the safety and prosperity of the community. To show, then, that the government of the concurrent majority is better calculated to fulfill them than that of the numerical, it is only necessary to explain why the former is better suited to combine a higher degree of power and a wider scope of liberty than the latter.


A Disquisition on Government – Wikipedia

In order to have a clear and just conception of the nature and object of government, it is indispensable to understand correctly what that constitution or law of our nature is, in which government originates; or, to express it more fully and accurately—that law, without which government would not, and with which, it must necessarily exist.

Constitution during the nineteenth century. The party in favor of the restrictions would be overpowered. How government, then, must be constructed, in order to counteract, through its organism, this tendency on the part of those who make and execute the laws to oppress those subject to their operation, is the next question which claims attention. Selfishness would have to be encouraged, and benevolence discouraged. 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 agency, and the rulers into agents, to divest government of all claims to sovereignty, and to retain it unimpaired to the community.

That, as the constitution and laws of the United States are the constitution and laws of each State, the State courts must have the right—and are in duty bound to decide on the validity of such laws as may be drawn in question, in all cases rightfully before them.

For, if power be necessary to secure to liberty the fruits of its exertions, liberty, in turn, repays power with interest, by increased population, wealth, and other advantages, which progress and improvement bestow on the community.

This decided, the election would pass off quietly, and without party discord; as no one portion Edition: This dispensation seems to be the result of some fixed law — and every effort to disturb or defeat it, by attempting to elevate a people in the scale of liberty, above the point to which they are entitled to rise, must ever prove abortive, and end in disappointment.

But the difference in their operation, in this respect, would not end here. Calhoun tries to develop a view of government that avoids the pitfalls he experienced in the U. Veto power was linked to the right of secession, which portended anarchy and social chaos. It leads to others equally false and fatal, in reference to the best means of preserving and perpetuating them, when, from some fortunate combination of circumstances, they are correctly formed.

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