Princeton University Library Catalog

John C. Calhoun's theory of Republicanism / John G. Grove.

Author:
Grove, John G. [Browse]
Format:
Book
Language:
English
Published/​Created:
  • Lawrence, Kansas : University Press of Kansas, [2016]
  • ©2016
Description:
viii, 213 pages ; 24 cm.
Series:
American political thought. [More in this series]
Summary note:
  • "John C. Calhoun (1782-1850), the South Carolinian who served as a congressman, a senator, and the seventh vice president of the United States, is best known for his role in southern resistance to abolition and his doctrine of state nullification. But he was also an accomplished political thinker, articulating the theory of the "concurrent majority." This theory, John G. Grove contends, is a rare example of American political thought resting on classical assumptions about human nature and political life. By tracing Calhoun's ideas over the course of his political career, Grove unravels the relationship between the theory of the concurrent majority and civic harmony, constitutional reform, and American slavery. In doing so, Grove distinguishes Calhoun's political philosophy from his practical, political commitment to states' rights and slavery, and identifies his ideas as a genuinely classical form of republicanism that focuses on the political nature of mankind, public virtue, and civic harmony. Man was a social creature, Calhoun argued, and the role of government was to maximize society's ability to thrive. The requirements of social harmony, not abstract individual rights, were therefore the foundation of political order. Hence the concurrent majority permitted the unique elements in any given society to pursue their interests as long as these did not damage the whole society; it forced rulers to act in the interest of the whole. John C. Calhoun's Theory of Republicanism offers a close analysis of the historical development of this idea from a basic, inherited republican ideology into a well-defined political theory. In the process, this book demonstrates that Calhoun's infamous defense of American slavery, while unwavering, was intellectually shallow and, in some ways, contradicted his highly developed political theory."-- Provided by publisher.
  • "This is a book about the political thought of John C. Calhoun. Grove traces Calhoun's thought back to classical Republicanism with its emphasis on the importance of seeing humans as social creatures and government as a necessity in order to curb the selfish impulses of individual rulers or domineering majorities. Grove sees Calhoun as a critic of the liberal individualistic theory that was so common at the time and which emphasized the idea of natural rights and governments as a contract with individuals. Calhoun in contrast looked at government as a body that mediated between social groups and facilitated social interaction. In arguing for a concurrent majority Calhoun suggested that government functioned best if they enabled minorities to resist the tendency of majorities or the powerful to run over the rights of minority groups. In his day, of course, the reference to minority groups did not encompass African-Americans."-- Provided by publisher.
Bibliographic references:
Includes bibliographical references (pages 183-204) and index.
Contents:
Introduction: John C. Calhoun and Classical Republicanism -- The Republicanism of the Disquisition and the Discourse -- Calhoun's Early Republicanism -- Power, Patronage, and Party Discipline: Calhoun's Turn -- A Conservative Reform: Calhoun and Nullification -- More than Eulogies: Calhoun and the Preservation of the Union -- "A Southern Man and a Slaveholder": Calhoun's Political Philosophy and Slavery -- Conclusion: An Internal Critique.
Subject(s):
Form/​Genre:
History.
ISBN:
  • 9780700623341 ((hardback))
  • 0700623345 ((hardback))
  • ((ebook))
LCCN:
2016026151
OCLC:
947148894
Other views:
Staff view