John C. Calhoun (Dictionary of World Biography: The 19th Century)
Article abstract: In addition to wielding great influence in national politics for four decades, Calhoun wrote incisively on the problem of protecting minority rights against majority rule in a democracy.
John C. Calhoun was born on March 18, 1782. His birthplace was a settlement on the Savannah River in South Carolina, near the modern Abbeville. Of Scotch-Irish ancestry, Calhoun’s forebears had made their way from Pennsylvania to Bath County, Virginia, then had been forced to migrate to South Carolina by the turmoil of the French and Indian War (1754-1760). The Up Country—as the western part of South Carolina is called—was a wild, untamed region, as evidenced by the murder of Calhoun’s grandmother by marauding Cherokees in 1760. Calhoun’s father, Patrick, was the youngest of four brothers who tenaciously carved out lives in the wilderness surrounding “Calhoun’s Settlement.” Patrick’s first wife having died, he married Martha Caldwell, with whom he produced a daughter and four sons; the next-to-youngest child was named John Caldwell, after one of Martha’s brothers.
Calhoun spent his youth on the family farm working in the fields with his father’s slaves. Patrick’s death in 1796 left John with a future seemingly bound by the needs of the farm and responsibilities to his family. Yet upon the urging of an older brother, he enrolled in Yale College in 1802 and was graduated...
(The entire section is 2670 words.)
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Calhoun, John Caldwell (West's Encyclopedia of American Law)
John Caldwell Calhoun achieved prominence as a U.S. vice president, Southern politician, and a staunch defender of STATES' RIGHTS.
Calhoun was born March 18, 1782, in Abbeville County, South Carolina. After graduating from Yale University in 1804 and LITCH-FIELD LAW SCHOOL in 1806, Calhoun was admitted to the South Carolina bar in 1807 and established a successful legal practice there.
In 1808, Calhoun entered politics, beginning as a member of the South Carolina legislature. Three years later, he began his career in federal government, representing South Carolina in the House of Representatives until 1817. During his tenure, he performed the duties of acting chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and in 1811 was a member of the War Hawks, a group that advocated war with England in 1812.
Calhoun resigned from the House in 1817 and assumed the duties of secretary of war for the next eight years. In 1825, he began his first term as vice president of the United States, serving under President JOHN QUINCY ADAMS for four years. He remained in this office during the presidency of ANDREW JACKSON, but relinquished his post in 1832 after a disagreement with Jackson concerning states' rights. The dispute between Jackson and Calhoun resulted in the Nullification Controversy of 1832 and 1833. Calhoun was...
(The entire section is 454 words.)