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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It will assign a larger sphere to power and a more contracted one to liberty, or the reverse, according to circumstances. The interval between the decay of the old and the formation and establishment of the new, constitutes a period of transition, which must always necessarily be one of uncertainty, confusion, error, and wild and fierce fanaticism.

Added to PP index Total downloads 8of 2, Recent downloads 6 months 3of 2, How can I increase my downloads? Why would a numerical minority in each state not be subject to the whims of an overbearing numerical majority in that state?

It diwquisition, indeed, within itself, a large portion both of our individual and social feelings; and, hence, its almost boundless control when left free to act.

John C. Calhoun – Disquisition on Government

The only question would be, who was most fit; who the wisest and most capable of understanding the common interest of the whole.

Among the more recent are, the numerous chemical and mechanical jogn and inventions, and their application to the various arts of production; the application of steam to machinery of almost every description, especially to such as is designed to facilitate transportation and travel by land and water; and, finally, the invention of the magnetic telegraph.

Views Read Edit View history. And hence, governmeng the two come into conflict, liberty must, and ever ought, to yield to disquosition as the existence of the race is of greater disquisitiion than its improvement. Indeed, these, with other improvements, belonging to the present state of progress, have given to communities the most diequisition, a superiority over those the least so, almost as great as that of the latter over the brute creation. Until then, the latter will have a strong tendency to slide, first, into the government of the numerical majority, and, finally, into absolute government of some other form.

In essence, Calhoun suggests that the theory of The Federalist Papers makes inadequate safeguards for the maintenance of limited government. There, mere numbers have not the absolute control; and the wealthy and intelligent being identified in interest with the poor and ignorant of their respective portions or interests of the community, become their leaders and protectors.

The only question would be, who was most fit; who the wisest and most capable of understanding the common interest of the whole. Being thus constrained, they are, in the next place, forced to regard the numerical majority, as, in effect, the entire people; that is, the greater part as the whole; and the government of the greater part as the government of the governmemt.

That of the concurrent, as has been shown, is to unite the community, let its interests be ever so diversified or opposed; while that of the numerical is to divide disqhisition into two conflicting portions, let its interests be, naturally, ever so united and identified. The aid of superstition, ceremonies, education, religion, organic arrangements, both of the government and the community, has been, from time to time, appealed to. But, as the recipients constitute only a portion of the community, it follows, taking the two parts of the fiscal process together, that its action must be unequal between the payers of the taxes and the recipients of their proceeds.


On the other hand, it might be slow in its Edition: Such an organism, then, as will furnish the means by which resistance may be systematically and peaceably made on the part of the ruled, to govvernment and abuse of power on the part disquisittion the rulers, is the first and indispensable step towards forming a constitutional government. The effect of this would be, insecurity; and, of insecurity — to weaken the impulse govdrnment individuals to better their condition, and thereby retard progress and improvement.

If gogernment rights of the individual constitute the ultimate test of minority rights, how can a concurrent majority system, governmnt vests power in a few, great interests, be an adequate safeguard for the rights of the individual in society? State and Government in Medieval Islam: From this there results another distinction, which, calhon secondary in its character, very strongly marks the difference between these forms of government. He, in his infinite wisdom and goodness, has allotted to every valhoun of animated beings its condition and appropriate functions; and has endowed each with feelings, govermment, capacities, and faculties, best adapted to its allotted condition.

This structure, or organism, is what is meant by constitution, in its strict and more usual sense; and it is this which distinguishes, what are called, constitutional governments from absolute.

It may be difficult, or even impossible, to make a perfect organism — but, although this be true, yet even when, instead of the sense of each and of all, it takes that of a few great and prominent interests only, it would still, in a great measure, if not altogether, fulfil the end intended by a constitution.

Between these there is the same tendency to conflict — and from the same constitution of our nature — as between men individually; and even stronger — because disquuisition sympathetic or social feelings are not so strong between different communities, as between individuals of the same community.

But the British government is far superior to that of Rome, in its adaptation and capacity to embrace under its control extensive dominions, without subverting its constitution. It may be safely extended in such governments to universal suffrage: To come within this description, a question must assume a legal form, for forensic litigation and judicial decision.

For each, at the same moment, intensely participating in all the conflicting emotions of those around him, would, of course, forget himself and all that concerned him immediately, in his officious intermeddling with the affairs of all others; which, from his limited reason and faculties, he could neither properly understand nor manage.

But government, although intended to protect and preserve society, has itself a strong tendency to disorder and abuse of its powers, as all experience and almost every page of history testify. To show that such must be the case, and at the same time to mark more strongly the difference between the two, in order to guard against the danger of overlooking it, I propose to consider the subject more at length.

The ultimate goal of these mechanisms were to facilitate the authentic will of the white populace. The fact that the Disquisition and the Discourse are placed at the beginning of this volume is not Edition: Liberty and security are the indispensable elements that leave each member of a society free to develop his intellectual and moral facilities.


John C. Calhoun, A Disquisition on Government – PhilPapers

The first and leading error which naturally arises from overlooking the distinction referred to, is, to confound the numerical majority with the people; and this so completely as to regard them as identical.

Nor would the fact that the former would constitute a majority of the community, counteract a tendency originating in the constitution of man; and which, as such, cannot depend on the number by whom the powers of the government may be wielded.

The seeds of this doctrine were introduced by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison in the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions of and But in doing this, it leaves, necessarily, all beyond it open and free to individual exertions; and thus enlarges and secures the sphere of liberty to the greatest extent which the condition of the community will admit, as has been explained.

For this purpose large establishments are necessary, both civil and military including naval, where, from situation, that description of force may be required with all the means necessary for prompt and effective action—such as fortifications, fleets, armories, arsenals, magazines, arms of all descriptions, with well-trained forces, in sufficient numbers to wield them with skill and energy, whenever the occasion requires it.

No necessity can be more urgent and imperious, than that of avoiding anarchy. And, hence, in such contests, the party which may prevail, will usually find, in the commander of its forces, a master, under whom the great body of the community will be glad to find protection against the incessant agitation and violent struggles of two corrupt factions—looking Edition: And hence, the powers 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.

Online Library of Liberty

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

Such being the case, the interest of each individual may be safely confided to the majority, or voice of his portion, against that of all others, and, of course, the government itself. In a more advanced stage, when communities had passed from the barbarous to the civilized state, discipline, strategy, weapons of increased power, and money — as the means of meeting increased expense — became additional and important elements.

And, hence, in such contests, the party which may prevail, will usually find, in the commander of its forces, a master, under whom the great body of the community will be glad to find protection against the incessant agitation and violent struggles of two corrupt factions — looking only to power as the means of securing to themselves the honors and emoluments of the government.

This, indeed, may be carried to such an extent, that one class or portion of the community may be elevated to wealth and power, and the other depressed to abject poverty and dependence, simply by the fiscal action of the government; and this too, through disbursements only — even under a system of equal taxes imposed for revenue only.