Lord Acton and the American Civil War

By |2019-02-07T12:32:08-05:00February 7th, 2019|Categories: American Republic, Civil War, Classical Liberalism, History, John C. Calhoun, South|

Lord Acton believed that the wrong side won the American Civil War. Such a judgment could hardly be said to be a minor detail of someone’s historical worldview, yet this judgment has somehow been obscured… “Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Among Catholic students of political thought, few figures are more liable [...]

The Andrew Jackson & John C. Calhoun Divide

By |2019-05-23T10:25:42-05:00May 29th, 2018|Categories: Books, Bradley J. Birzer, Conservatism, History, In Defense of Andrew Jackson Series by Bradley Birzer, John C. Calhoun, Politics, Presidency, Senior Contributors|

When Andrew Jackson learned that John C. Calhoun had been deceiving him for more than a decade, Jackson understandably exploded in rage… While Andrew Jackson was moving against the Seminoles, the Spanish, and the British in Florida in the late 1810s, he had assumed that his closest ally in President James Monroe’s cabinet was [...]

False Idols? Looking at America’s Founders With a Clear Eye

By |2018-01-15T18:31:02-05:00August 16th, 2017|Categories: American Republic, Featured, History, John C. Calhoun|

The greatest tragedy of America’s past is that racism was present not only in its worst villains, but also in some of its greatest public figures. We cannot debase the positive contributions of those who had moral failings, but we also cannot idolize the American Founders under the false pretension that vice did not [...]

Sons of the Founders: A Great Generation?

By |2019-02-14T12:45:29-05:00March 15th, 2017|Categories: American Founding, Bradley J. Birzer, History, John Adams, John C. Calhoun, John Quincy Adams, World War II|

When the second generation of Americans inherited the leadership of the republic, they must have felt, in equal measure, a mix of immense pride and a sense of dread… I often imagine how difficult it must have been to be the son of a Founding Father. Can you imagine trying to live up to [...]

Misunderstanding John C. Calhoun’s Federalism

By |2019-04-30T16:47:09-05:00February 15th, 2017|Categories: Constitution, Electoral College, Featured, Federalism, History, John C. Calhoun|

Far from feeding disunion, John C. Calhoun understood that a more perfect Union listened to the representative voices of the states, rather than the despotic voice of the “nation” represented in the federal Congress… I recently read two essays: one bemoaning the electoral college, and another explaining that Yale University was considering renaming Calhoun [...]

Should Yale Erase the Name of John C. Calhoun?

By |2016-01-24T09:13:07-05:00January 24th, 2016|Categories: American Founding, Culture, History, John C. Calhoun, Lee Cheek|

The misguided effort to have Yale University rename Calhoun College is a sign that we contemporary Americans have a tendency to forget who we are, and to engage in what has become known as political correctness. The advocates of political correctness want to corrupt history for temporary political gain, and their efforts are, sadly, [...]

Calhoun, Jefferson, and Popular Rule

By |2017-12-11T22:12:20-05:00March 20th, 2012|Categories: American Republic, John C. Calhoun, Lee Cheek, Politics, Republicanism, South, Thomas Jefferson|

John Caldwell Calhoun inherited the social and political tradition of his South Atlantic world, confirmed by participation in a community and intermediary institutions that encouraged a republicanism with the moral and philosophical overtones necessary to encourage a just polity and the ethical life. Contrary to the fashionable and persistent maligning of Calhoun as a [...]

St. Calhoun, Part I

By |2015-11-10T17:54:58-05:00March 18th, 2012|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Conservatism, John C. Calhoun, South|

John C. Calhoun Last weekend, I had the grand privilege of working with Emily Corwin, Adam Tate, and Richard Brake at a co-sponsored ISI/Liberty Fund colloquium in Philadelphia. Held at the gorgeous Omni, we overlooked Independence Hall. Our topic: Union, republic, and nullification. As I have been so many times in my [...]

Calhoun: The Oracle of the South

By |2016-04-15T10:03:58-05:00February 26th, 2012|Categories: Books, John C. Calhoun, M. E. Bradford, South|Tags: |

The Essential Calhoun: Selections from Writings, Speeches, and Letters. Edited with an Introduction by Clyde Wilson. Foreword by Russell Kirk. The contemporary academic interpretation of John Caldwell Calhoun is like the contemporary academic response to anything and anyone thoroughly and unmistakably Southern: a politically correct caricature, both as to motives and with regard to the meaning [...]

Republicanism and Liberty: The “Patrick Henry”/”Onslow” Debate

By |2019-05-23T11:24:17-05:00July 1st, 2011|Categories: John C. Calhoun, John Quincy Adams, Lee Cheek, Republicanism, Sean Busick|

The fiercely contested, yet inconclusive election of 1824 set the stage for one of the great debates of American political history. According to Irving Bartlett, “the key to understanding Calhoun’s political behavior and thinking from 1825 through 1828 may be found in the peculiar conditions under which the election of 1824 occurred.” The same [...]