A Disquisition on Government and a Discourse on the Constitution and Government of the United States
AN INFLUENTIAL THEORY OF MINORITY RIGHTS "In Calhoun's last years he drafted two essays that set forth his ideas on political theory. The first and shorter essay, 'The Disquisition on Government, ' is the more significant in that Calhoun sought to develop a consistent theory of minority rights within the context of majority rule. He urged universal recognition of the inequality of mankind and the diff erentiation of social and economic concerns. For an organized society to work in a harmonious and practical sense, these differences, Calhoun contended, had to be recognized and then institutionalized. He was, of course, arguing for his section and its 'peculiar institution, ' but nowhere does he mention slavery in the essay. Calhoun's thought as developed in the "Disquisition," and to a lesser extent in his 'Discourse on the Constitution, ' remains an original contribution to the history of political theory. His assertion of pluralism in political representation has influenced diverse critics of society, including liberal supporters of civil rights and conservative defenders of special social and economic interests." --JOHN NIVEN, "JOHN C. CALHOUN," American National Biography 4:215-216 Secretary of war and state, a two-time vice president and one of the more notable senators in U.S. history, JOHN C. CALHOUN [1782-1850] was one of the greatest American statesmen of the nineteenth century. An important political theorist and inspiration to the secessionists, he advanced sophisticated and impassioned arguments in favor of slavery, limited government and states' rights.
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