Right Wing Republicans becomming Calhounists?

Reply Mon 14 Sep, 2009 11:34 am
There is a strong resemblence between right wing Republicans today as a largely regional party and the John Calhoun party prior to the Civil War. It explains a lot about their attitude toward President Obama and continued hatred of Northern government.

John Caldwell Calhoun (March 18, 1782 " March 31, 1850) was the 7th Vice President of the United States and a leading Southern politician from South Carolina during the first half of the 19th century. Calhoun was an advocate of slavery, states' rights, limited government, and nullification.

Calhoun supported state's rights and nullification, under which states could declare null and void federal laws which they deemed to be unconstitutional. He was an outspoken proponent of the institution of slavery, which he famously defended as a "positive good" rather than as a "necessary evil". His rhetorical defense of slavery was partially responsible for escalating Southern threats of secession in the face of mounting abolitionist sentiment in the North.

In 1832, the states' rights theory was put to the test in the Nullification Crisis, after South Carolina passed an ordinance that nullified federal tariffs. The tariffs favored Northern manufacturing interests over Southern agricultural concerns. The South Carolina legislature declared them unconstitutional. Calhoun had formed a political party in South Carolina explicitly known as the Nullifier Party.

The Nullifier Party was a short-lived political party based in South Carolina in the 1830s. Started by John C. Calhoun, it was a states' rights party that supported the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions, holding that States could nullify federal laws within their borders. They had several members in both sections of the United States Congress between 1831 and 1839.

Calhoun outlined the principles of the party in his South Carolina Exposition and Protest (1828), a reaction to the "Tariff of Abominations" passed by Congress and signed into law by President John Quincy Adams.

The party supported Calhoun ally John Floyd of Virginia for president in the 1832 election, and the state legislature gave Floyd South Carolina's 11 electoral votes, even though Floyd was not a candidate and had himself unsuccessfully tried to convince Calhoun to run for president.

In response to the South Carolina move, Congress passed the Force Bill, which empowered President Jackson to use military power to force states to obey all federal laws. Jackson sent US Navy warships to Charleston harbor. South Carolina then nullified the Force Bill. Tensions cooled after both sides agreed to the Compromise Tariff of 1833, a proposal by Senator Henry Clay to change the tariff law in a manner which satisfied Calhoun, who by then was in the Senate.

Calhoun had earlier suggested that the doctrine of nullification could lead to secession. In his 1828 essay "South Carolina Exposition and Protest", Calhoun argued that a state could veto any law it considered unconstitutional.

With his break with Jackson complete, in 1832, Calhoun ran for the Senate rather than continue as Vice President. Because he had expressed nullification beliefs during the crisis, his chances of becoming President were very low.[9] After the Compromise Tariff of 1833 was implemented, the Nullifier Party, along with other anti-Jackson politicians, formed a coalition known as the Whig Party. Calhoun sided with the Whigs until he broke with key Whig Senator Daniel Webster over slavery, as well as the Whigs' program of "internal improvements". Many Southern politicians opposed these as improving Northern industrial interests at the expense of Southern interests. Whig party leader Henry Clay sided with Daniel Webster on these issues.

Calhoun led the pro-slavery faction in the Senate in the 1830s and 1840s, opposing both abolitionism and attempts to limit the expansion of slavery into the western territories. He was a major advocate of the 1850 Fugitive Slave Law, which enforced the co-operation of law enforcement in free states to return escaping slaves. Calhoun couched his defense of the institution of slavery in terms of liberty and self-determination for residents of Southern states.

Whereas other Southern politicians had excused slavery as a necessary evil, in a famous February 1837 speech on the Senate floor, Calhoun asserted that slavery was a "positive good." He rooted this claim on two grounds"white supremacy and paternalism. All societies, Calhoun claimed, are ruled by an elite group which enjoys the fruits of the labor of a less-privileged group.

Calhoun's home, Fort Hill, on the grounds that became part of Clemson University, in Clemson, South Carolina.He stated: "I may say with truth, that in few countries so much is left to the share of the laborer, and so little exacted from him, or where there is more kind attention paid to him in sickness or infirmities of age. Compare his condition with the tenants of the poor houses in the more civilized portions of Europe"look at the sick, and the old and infirm slave, on one hand, in the midst of his family and friends, under the kind superintending care of his master and mistress, and compare it with the forlorn and wretched condition of the pauper in the poorhouse.

After a one-year break as the 16th United States Secretary of State, (April 1, 1844 " March 10, 1845) under President John Tyler, Calhoun returned to the Senate in 1845. He participated in the epic political struggle over the expansion of slavery in the Western states. Regions were divided as to whether slavery should be allowed in the formerly Imperial Spanish " Mexican lands. The debate over this issue culminated in the Compromise of 1850.

Calhoun's fierce defense of states' rights and support for the Slave Power had influence beyond his death. Southern supporters drew from his thought in the growing divide between Northern and Southern states on this issue. They wielded the threat of Southern secession to back slave state demands.
Southerners challenged the doctrine of congressional authority to regulate or prohibit slavery in the territories. In 1847 Calhoun claimed that citizens from every state had the right to take their property to any territory. Congress, he asserted, had no authority to place restrictions on slavery in the territories. If the Northern majority continued to ride roughshod over the rights of the Southern minority, the Southern states would have little option but to secede.

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Reply Mon 14 Sep, 2009 03:09 pm
I enjoyed reading the history. I am not certain that Calhounist best describes today's Republicans, but there are several ties that bind.
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Reply Mon 14 Sep, 2009 03:30 pm
bridge to nowhere.
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Reply Mon 14 Sep, 2009 06:42 pm
Were the Calhounists concerned about radical Islam and the Islamicization of Europe? What about the proliferation of nuclear weapons? They likely were concerned about that too.
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