John C. Calhoun

The Tempestuous Revolutionary

Calhoun was born March 18th in 1782 in Vaudeville South Carolina. He left school when he was seventeen because his father was ill. Later, with the help of his brother he got a degree at Yale and soon began to practice law and became popular. He married his cousin and joined the House of Representatives in 1811.  He became one of the 'War-Hats' that pushed for war with England. Following the war he decided to support Henry Clay's 'American System' ideal that focused on a national bank and better transport as well as a protective tariff. Then, in 1817 Calhoun was appointed Secretary of War. Seven years later he was made Vice President under John Quincy Adams and then again in 1828 under Andrew Jackson, after which he resigned the Vice-Presidency in 1832 and returned to become South Carolina's senator, where he fought for state rights and the South. He had anonymously stated his ideas for nullification; in which a state's law overruled federal law if considered unconstitutional. This was based on the concept that the constitution was a contract between the states and the federal government and that states had the right to withdraw from said contract. In the later days of his life he saw the instability of the union and used it to have the tariff removed and pushed to separation. By now he had  alot of influence on America. But he was also pro-slavery;  a view born of growing up on a farm amongst slaves and slave owners and consequently he led a handful of pro-slavery factions existing within the senate and held debates as to the expansion of slavery into the west. He died in Washington D.C in March at the age of sixty-eight. His fierce defence for state's rights and his support for slavery continued after his demise, inspiring the South to contiue to rebel and thus start the Civil War.

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