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 process may be slow, and much time may be required before a compact, organized majority can be thus formed; but formed it will be in time, even without preconcert or design, by the sure workings of that principle or constitution of our nature in which government itself originates.

The sum total, then, of its effects, when most successful, is, to make those elected, the true and faithful representatives of those who elected them—instead of irresponsible rulers—as they would be without it; and thus, by converting it into an agency, and the rulers into agents, to divest government of all claims to sovereignty, and to retain it unimpaired to the community. Mathias Risse – – Philosophy Compass 4 5: They constituted, indeed, an essential part of the system through which they were plundered and oppressed by the patricians.

There is another error, of a kindred character, whose influence contributes much to the same results: A broader position may, indeed, be taken; viz. In preparing the manuscripts for the press, the editor has sedulously endeavored to preserve, not only the peculiar modes of expression, but the calohun words of the author—without regard to ornaments of style or rules of criticism. Constitution stands to government as government stands to society. But in estimating the power of a community, moral, as well as physical causes, must be taken into the calculation; and in estimating the effects of liberty on power, it must not be overlooked, that it is, in itself, an important agent in augmenting joyn force of moral, as well as of physical power.

House of Representatives and establishes his early credentials Edition: 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 meet the necessary expenses, large sums must be collected and disbursed; and, for this purpose, heavy taxes must be imposed, requiring a multitude of officers for Edition: But, as such is not the case — as the numerical majority, instead of being the people, is only a portion of them — such a government, instead of being a true and ggovernment model of the people’s government, that is, a people self-governed, is but the government of a part, over a part — the major over the minor portion.

John C. Calhoun: Disquisition on Government

In doing this, it accomplishes all it possibly can accomplish. The administration and management of a government with such vast establishments must necessarily require a host of employees, agents, and officers — of whom many must be vested with high and responsible trusts, and occupy exalted stations, accompanied with much influence and patronage. And hence, the tendency to a universal state of conflict, between individual and individual; accompanied by the connected passions of suspicion, jealousy, anger and revenge—followed by insolence, fraud and cruelty—and, if not prevented by some controlling power, ending in a state of universal discord and confusion, destructive of the social state and the ends for which it is ordained.


It is a reward to be earned, not a blessing to be gratuitously lavished on all alike — a reward reserved for the intelligent, the patriotic, the virtuous and deserving — and not a boon to be bestowed on a people too ignorant, degraded and vicious, to be capable either of appreciating or of enjoying it. No people, indeed, can long enjoy more liberty than that to which their situation and advanced intelligence and morals fairly entitle them. It is only by such an organism, that the assent of each can be made necessary to put the government Edition: This consequence is unavoidable.

It is so much so that, to suspend its action altogether, even for an inconsiderable period, would subject the community to convulsions and anarchy. In this speech, which spanned two days, he argued that recourse to violence to compel obedience to the dictates of the federal government could never be constitutional or legitimate, even if undertaken to preserve the union.

So long as this state of things continues, exigencies will occur, in which the entire powers and resources of the community will be needed to defend its existence. When, then, the two parties, in governments of the numerical majority, resort to force, in their struggle for supremacy, he who commands the successful party will have the control of the government itself. oh

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Few, comparatively, as they are, the agents and employees of the government constitute that portion of the community who are the exclusive recipients of the proceeds of the taxes. To man, he has assigned the social and political state, as best adapted to develop the great capacities and faculties, intellectual and moral, with which he has endowed him; and has, accordingly, constituted him so as not only to impel him into the social state, but to make government necessary for his preservation and well-being.

The answer will diqsuisition found in the fact not less incontestable than either of the others that, while man is created for the social state, and is accordingly so formed as to feel what affects others, as well as what affects himself, he is, at the same time, so constituted as to feel more intensely what affects him directly, hovernment what affects him indirectly though others; or, to express it differently, he is so constituted, that his direct or individual affections are stronger than his sympathetic or social feelings.

All strife and struggle would cease as to who should be elected to make and execute them.

Summary: A Disquisition On Government by John C. Calhoun | Craig W. Wright

On the contrary, as the instrument of party warfare, it contributes greatly to increase party excitement, and the violence and virulence of party struggles; and, in the same degree, diaquisition tendency to oppression and abuse of power. So long as this state of things continues, exigencies will occur, in which the entire powers and resources of the community will be needed to defend its existence. The Republic had, in reality, ceased to exist long before the establishment of the Empire.


He jhn more concerned about national strength and unity than about curbing majorities to protect intense minority interests.

If the two be compared, in reference to the ends for which government is ordained, the superiority of the government of the concurrent majority will not be less striking. But to go further, and make equality of condition essential to liberty, would be to destroy disquixition liberty and progress. So great is their difference in this respect, that, just as the one or the other element predominates in the construction of any government, in the same proportion will the character Edition: Under the combined influence of these causes, the interests of dissuisition would be merged in the common interests of the govenrment and thus, the community would jkhn a unit, by becoming the common centre of attachment of all its parts.

They are both governments of this description, as will be shown hereafter. If this tendency should continue permanently in the same direction, the monarchical form must still retain its advantages, and continue to be the most prevalent. So powerful, indeed, is the operation of the concurrent majority, in this respect, that, if it were possible for a corrupt and degenerate community to establish and maintain a well-organized government of the kind, it would of itself purify and regenerate them; while, on the other hand, a government based wholly on the numerical majority, would just as certainly corrupt and debase the most patriotic and virtuous people.

Calhoun hardly ever reviewed or revised his remarks owing to the press of daily jihn, and he had almost no concern for questions of style per se.

Under the combined influence of these causes, the interests of each would be merged in the common interests of the whole; and thus, the community would become a unit, by becoming the disquisitkon centre of attachment of all its parts. The necessary consequence of taking the sense of the community by the concurrent majority is, as has been explained, to give to each interest or portion of the community a negative on the others.

How government, then, must be constructed, in order to counteract, through its organism, this tendency on the part of those who make and execute the laws to oppress those subject to their operation, is the next question which claims attention.