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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Nor would the good effects resulting thence be confined to those who take an active part in political affairs.

I might go farther, and assert this to be a phenomenon, not of our nature only, but of all animated existence, throughout its entire range, so far as our knowledge extends. And among the civilized, the same causes have decided the question of superiority, where other circumstances are nearly equal, in favor of those whose governments have given the greatest impulse to development, progress, and improvement; that is, to those whose liberty is the largest and best secured.

When this right is properly guarded, and the people sufficiently enlightened to understand their own rights and the interests of the community, and duly to appreciate the motives and conduct of those appointed to make and execute the laws, it is all-sufficient to give to those who elect, effective control over those they have elected. This necessity acts as the predisposing cause of concurrence in some common opinion; and with such efficacy, that a jury rarely fails to find a verdict.

John C. Calhoun, A Disquisition on Government – PhilPapers

It follows, from all that has been said, that the more perfectly a government combines power and liberty — that is, the greater its power and the more enlarged and secure the liberty of individuals, the more perfectly it fulfills the ends for which government is ordained. It may be safely extended in such governments to universal suffrage: The right of suffrage, of itself, can do no more than give complete control to those who elect, over the conduct of those they have elected.

Among these, England and the United States afford striking examples, not only of the effects of liberty in increasing power, but of the more perfect adaptation of governments founded on the principle of the concurrent, or constitutional majority, to enlarge and secure liberty. But some communities require a far greater amount of power than others to protect them against anarchy and external dangers; and, of course, the sphere of liberty in such, must be proportionally contracted.

Some of the most remarkable of these devices, Edition: Veto power was linked to the right of secession, which portended anarchy and social chaos. He attracted, or repelled; he convinced, or he antagonized; he was loved, or he was hated.


Individual resistance is too feeble, and the difficulty of concert and co-operation too great, unaided by such an organism, to oppose, successfully, the organized power of government, with all governmennt means of the community at its disposal; especially in populous countries of great extent, where concert and co-operation are almost impossible.

But it cannot be necessary, after what has been stated, to enter into any further explanation or argument in order to establish the superiority of governments of the concurrent majority over the numerical, in developing the great elements of moral power. 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.

Without this there can be no systematic, peaceful, or effective resistance to the natural tendency of each to come into conflict with the others: Written in response to what Calhoun saw as the growing subjugation of the Southern United States by the more populous North, especially in terms of Northern promotion of tariff legislation and opposition to slaverythe page Disquisition promotes the idea of a concurrent majority in order to protect what he perceived to be the South’s interests.

To this, also, may be referred the greater solidity of foundation on which governments of the concurrent majority repose. To the former, there must ever be allotted, under all circumstances, a sphere sufficiently large to protect the community against danger from without and violence and anarchy within. The American Constitutional Order: The numerical majority, perhaps, should usually be one of the elements of a constitutional democracy; but to make it the sole element, in order to perfect the constitution govednment make the government more popular, is one of the greatest and most fatal of political errors.

The case is different in constitutional governments of the popular form. As in the Polish Diet, each member possessed a veto on its decision; so that disqkisition could be done without the united consent of all.

Constitutional governments, of whatever form, are, indeed, much more similar to each other, in their structure and character, than they are, respectively, to the governmen governments, even of their own class. Home About About The Numbers.

Such must continue to be the result, so long as these errors continue to be prevalent. To this the major party would oppose a liberal construction — one which would give to the words of the grant the broadest meaning of which they were susceptible.

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In the case of a monarchy, the process is somewhat different. 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.


It also developed more fully the power of the community. Clhoun two are the opposites of each other. A written constitution certainly has many and considerable advantages; but it is a great mistake to suppose, that the mere insertion of provisions to restrict and limit the powers of the government, without investing those for whose protection they are inserted with the means of enforcing their observance, will be sufficient to prevent the major and dominant party from abusing its powers.

It will be nearly throughout new territory; and, I hope, to lay a solid foundation for political Calhoub. Charles de Secondat Montesquieu – – Lawbook Exchange. He was too weak to deliver it himself. It must finally control elections and appointments to offices, as well as acts of legislation, to the great increase of the feelings of animosity, and of the fatal tendency to a complete alienation between the sections. But in governments of the concurrent majority such fatal consequences can only be avoided by the unanimous concurrence or acquiescence of the various portions of the community.

This book is published by Liberty Fund, Inc. From the same cause, there is a like tendency v aristocratical to terminate in absolute governments of the monarchical form; but by no means as strong, because there is less repugnance between military power oj aristocratical, than between it and democratical governments.

The assertion is true in reference to all constitutional governments, be their forms what they may. There must be parties to come into court who can be reached by its process and bound by its power; whose rights admit of ultimate decision by a tribunal, to which they are bound to submit. The adoption, by the one, of any measure, however objectionable, which might give it an advantage, would compel the other to follow its example.

But it is manifest that the right of suffrage, in making these changes, transfers, in reality, the actual control over the government, from those who make and execute the laws, to the body of the community; and, thereby, places the powers of the government as fully in the mass of the community, as they would be if they, in fact, had assembled, made, and executed the laws themselves, without the intervention of representatives or agents.

But this cannot be, unless the ultimate effect of their action, politically, shall be, to give ascendency to that form of government best calculated to fulfill the ends for which government is ordained.