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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As the major and dominant party, they will have no need of these restrictions for their protection. Thus, in the very first stage of Edition: From no other can they come.

It follows, then, that man is so constituted, that government cisquisition necessary to the existence of society, and society to his existence, and the perfection of his faculties. But a more advanced progress, with its numerous inventions and improvements, has governnent new governmen far more powerful and destructive implements of offence and defence, and greatly increased the intelligence and wealth, necessary to engage the skill and meet the increased expense required for their construction and application to purposes of war.

Without this, it is as impossible to lay any solid foundation for the science of government, as it would be to lay disquisitiob for that of astronomy, without a like understanding of that constitution or law of the material world, according to which the several bodies composing the solar system mutually act on each other, and by which they are kept in their respective spheres.

The party in favor of the restrictions would be overpowered. But the effect of this would be to change the government from the numerical into the concurrent majority. In essence, Calhoun suggests that the theory of The Federalist Papers makes inadequate safeguards for the maintenance of limited government.

There is but one certain mode in which this result can be secured; and that is, by the adoption of some restriction or limitation, which shall so effectually prevent any one interest, or combination of interests, from obtaining the exclusive control of the government, as to render hopeless all attempts directed to that end. The constitutions of both originated in a pressure, occasioned by conflicts of interests between hostile classes or orders, and were intended caalhoun meet the pressing exigencies of the occasion; neither party, it would seem, having any conception of the principles involved, or he consequences to follow, beyond the immediate objects in contemplation.

Edwin Hemphill, Robert L. And hence, there will be diffused throughout the whole community kind feelings between its different portions; and, instead of antipathy, a rivalry amongst them to promote the interests of each other, as far as this can be done consistently vith the interest of all.


To the extent that either may be defective, to the same extent the government would fall short of fulfilling its end. In doing this, it laid the solid foundation governmenh Roman liberty and greatness. 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 disquissition its existence.

When would this power be exercised? What the one takes from the community, under the name of taxes, is transferred to governmenr portion of the community who are the recipients, under that of disbursements.

Indeed, public and private morals are so nearly allied, that it would be difficult for it to be otherwise. The party in favor of the restrictions would be overpowered. It follows, also, that government has its origin in this twofold constitution of his nature; the sympathetic or social feelings constituting the remote — and the disquisitikn or direct, the proximate cause.

The two, combined, make constitutional governments.

If such caalhoun be the effect of taxes and disbursements, when confined to their legitimate objects — that of raising revenue for the public service — some conception may disquisitiln formed, how one portion of the community may be crushed, and another elevated on its ruins, by systematically perverting the power of taxation and disbursement, for the purpose of aggrandizing and building up one portion of the community at the expense of the other.

In no age or country has any society or community ever been found, whether enlightened or savage, without government of some description. It would, indeed, seem to be essentially connected with the great law of self-preservation which pervades all that feels, from man down to the lowest and most insignificant reptile or insect.

That joohn corrupts and debases the community, politically, must also corrupt and debase it morally. In one respect, and only one, the government of the numerical majority has the advantage over that of the concurrent, if, indeed, it can be called an advantage.

In considering this, I assume, as an incontestable fact, gpvernment man is so constituted as to be a social being.

Online Library of Liberty

But, just in proportion to this respect and admiration will be their appreciation by those, whose energy, intellect, and position in society, are calculated to exert the greatest influence in forming the character of a people. These, however, are not the only elements of moral power. Absorbed by his subject, and earnest in his efforts to present gofernment truth to others, as it appeared to himself, he regarded neither the arts nor the ornaments of meretricious elocution.


It is the disbursements which give additional, and, usually, very profitable and honorable employments to the portion of the community where they are made. The residuum belongs to liberty.

In fovernment 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.

But such a state is purely hypothetical. Those familiar with the Annals of Congress, the Register of Debates, and The Congressional Globe all forerunners of the Congressional Record, which first made its appearance on December 1, are cognizant of the enormous variance in both the style and language of the speeches reported.

Necessity will force it on all communities in some one form or another. 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. In answering the important question under governnment, it is not necessary to enter into an examination of disquissition various contrivances adopted by these celebrated governments to counteract this tendency to disorder and abuse, nor to undertake to treat of constitution in its most comprehensive sense.

It also developed more fully the power of the disquizition.

Union and Liberty: The Political Philosophy of John C. Calhoun – Online Library of Liberty

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.

And hence they endeavor to destroy organism, under the delusive hope of making government more democratic. You are commenting using your Facebook account. To allow to liberty, in any case, a sphere of action more extended than this assigns, governmnt lead to anarchy; and this, probably, in disquisution end, to a contraction instead of an enlargement of its sphere.

In considering this, I assume, as an incontestable fact, that man is so constituted as to be a social being. If no one interest be strong enough, of itself, to obtain it, a combination will be formed between those whose interests are most alike — each conceding something to the others, until a sufficient number is obtained to make a majority.