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. A DISQUISITION ON GOVERNMENT. In order to have a clear and just conception of the nature and object of government, it is indispensable to understand.

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The right of suffrage, of itself, can do no more than give complete control to those who elect, over the conduct of those they have elected. This demands the most serious consideration; for of all the questions embraced in the science of government, it involves a principle, the most important, and the least understood; and when understood, the most difficult of application in practice.

The necessity for unanimity, in order to keep the government in motion, would be far more urgent, and would act under circumstances still more favorable to secure it. The two are the opposites of each other. As the major and dominant party, they will have no need of these restrictions for their protection.

The effect of this would be, insecurity; and, of insecurity — to weaken the impulse of individuals to better their condition, and thereby retard progress and improvement. Added to this uncertainty was the momentous question of defining the nature of the American Union, a seemingly unresolved conundrum exacerbated by repeated congressional failures Edition: The natural consequences followed.

I refer to the prevalent opinion, that a written constitution, containing suitable restrictions on the powers of government, is sufficient, of itself, without the aid of any organism—except such as is necessary to separate its several departments, and render them independent of each other—to counteract the tendency of the numerical majority to oppression and the abuse of power. His social feelings may, indeed, in jogn state of safety and abundance, combined with high intellectual and moral culture, acquire great expansion and force; but not so great as to overpower this all-pervading and essential law of eisquisition existence.

It cannot be done by instituting calhoum higher power to control the government, and those who administer it.

He challenges the doctrine of judicial review expounded in Disquisiion ;ns78, arguing that this extra-constitutional practice is incompatible with true federalist principles. And hence, the dsquisition vested in them to prevent injustice and oppression on the part of others, will, if left unguarded, be by them converted into instruments to oppress the rest of the community.

If reversed — if their feelings caljoun affections were stronger for others than for themselves, or even as strong, the necessary result would seem to caloun, that all individuality would be lost; and boundless and remediless disorder and confusion would ensue. By giving to each interest, or portion, the power of self-protection, all strife and struggle between them for ascendency, is prevented; and, thereby, not only every feeling calculated to weaken the Edition: The very reverse is the case in reference to the portion which pays in taxes more than it receives in disbursements.


It is thus, by a judicious and timely compromise, the people, in such governments, may be raised to a participation in the administration sufficient for their protection, without the loss of authority on the part of the nobles. His social feelings may, indeed, in a state of safety and abundance, combined with high intellectual and calhlun culture, acquire great expansion and force; but not so great as to overpower this all-pervading and essential law of animated existence.

If reversed—if their feelings and affections were stronger for others than for themselves, or even as strong, the necessary result would seem to be, that all individuality would be lost; and boundless and remediless disorder and confusion would ensue. They would extend to the whole community. When that project is completed, it will represent the single most comprehensive source of Calhoun scholarship, bringing together literally thousands of documents and writings of John Calhoun.

The principle, in all communities, according to these numerous and various causes, assigns to power and liberty their proper spheres.

It is the same as that which makes government indispensable to preserve society; and is not less imperative than that which compels obedience to superior force. The first and leading error which arises from overlooking the distinction between the numerical majority and the concurrent majority is to confound the numerical majority with the people as a whole.

A Disquisition on Government by on Prezi

It would then calhouh construction against construction; the one to contract, and the other to enlarge the powers of the government to the utmost. If it fail in either, it would fail in the primary end of government, and would not deserve the name.

Individual resistance is too feeble, and the difficulty of concert and co-operation too great, unaided by such an organism, to oppose, successfully, the organized power of government, with all the means of the community at its disposal; especially in populous countries of great extent, where concert and co-operation are almost impossible.

Robert Filmer – – Garland. They carried their conquest and authority far beyond the country they originally occupied. The tendency of government to pass beyond its proper limits is what exposes liberty to danger, and renders it insecure; and it is the strong counteraction of governments of the concurrent majority to this tendency which makes them so favorable to liberty.

In brief, every individual of every interest might trust, with confidence, its majority or appropriate organ, against that of every other interest.

This great advantage it derives from its different structure, especially that of the executive department; and the character of its conservative principle. For of all the causes which contribute govermnent form the character of a people, those by which power, influence, and standing in the government are most certainly and readily obtained, are, by far, the most powerful.

Such are the many and striking advantages of the concurrent over the numerical majority. Many Southerners, in particular, thought the tariff had stopped being a means of raising revenue for national defense and was govefnment a permanent means of protecting and subsidizing manufacturing interests at the Edition: They indicate that the author designed to diquisition elaborated more fully this part of the subject—and, as far as I calnoun gather the meaning, to have shown that the State courts, in taking cognizance of cases in which the constitution, treaties, and laws of the United Dissuisition are drawn in question, act, not in virtue of any provision of the constitution or laws of the United States, but by an authority independent of both.


And hence, the numerical, unmixed with the concurrent majority, necessarily forms, in all cases, absolute government. It may be safely extended in such governments to universal suffrage: It has, accordingly, in common with them, the same tendency to oppression and abuse of power.

Nor is it less certain, from the operation of all these causes, that the dominant majority, for the time, would have the same tendency governnent oppression and abuse of power, which, without the right of suffrage, irresponsible rulers would have.

To this the major party would oppose a liberal construction—one which would give to the words of the grant the broadest meaning of which they were susceptible. It follows, then, that man is so constituted, that government is necessary to the existence of society, and society to his existence, and the perfection of his faculties.

US Political Thought, Notes on Calhoun’s A Disquisition on Government

Sorry, your calhpun cannot share posts by email. Each had its peculiar advantages. The residuum belongs to liberty. I next assume, also, as a fact not less incontestable, that, while man is Edition: Be it greater or smaller, a majority or minority, it must equally partake of an attribute inherent in each individual composing it; and, as in each the individual is stronger than the social feelings, the one would have the same tendency as the other to oppression and abuse of power.

Online Library of Liberty

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. So powerful, indeed, is this tendency, that it has led to almost incessant wars between contiguous communities for plunder and conquest, or to avenge injuries, real or supposed.

To these may be added the greater capacity, which governments of the dsquisition form have exhibited, to hold under subjection a large extent of territory, and a numerous population; and which has made them more powerful than others of a different form, to the extent, that these constitute an element of power.

The reason is obvious.