John C. Calhoun quotes

  • Irresponsible power is inconsistent with liberty, and must corrupt those who exercise it.
    -- John C. Calhoun

    #Exercise #Liberty #Inconsistent

  • Stripped of all its covering, the naked question is, whether ours is a federal or consolidated government; a constitutional or absolute one; a government resting solidly on the basis of the sovereignty of the States, or on the unrestrained will of a majority; a form of government, as in all other unlimited ones, in which injustice, violence, and force must ultimately prevail.
    -- John C. Calhoun

    #Government #Majority #Covering

  • To maintain the ascendancy of the Constitution over the lawmaking majority is the great and essential point on which the success of the [American] system must depend; unless that ascendancy can be preserved, the necessary consequence must be that the laws will supersede the Constitution; and, finally, the will of the Executive, by influence of its patronage, will supersede the laws . . .
    -- John C. Calhoun

    #Law #Majority #Essentials

  • The Government of the absolute majority instead of the Government of the people is but the Government of the strongest interests; and when not efficiently checked, it is the most tyrannical and oppressive that can be devised.
    -- John C. Calhoun

    #Government #People #Majority

  • It is harder to preserve than to obtain liberty.
    -- John C. Calhoun

    #War #Liberty #Harder

  • The will of a majority is the will of a rabble. Progressive democracy is incompatable with liberty.
    -- John C. Calhoun

    #Government #Democracy #Liberty

  • The surrender of life is nothing to sinking down into acknowledgment of inferiority.
    -- John C. Calhoun

    #Inferiority #Life Is #Surrender

  • Learn from your mistakes and build on your successes.
    -- John C. Calhoun

    #Mistake #Learn From Your Mistakes

  • In looking back, I see nothing to regret and little to correct.
    -- John C. Calhoun

    #Regret #Littles #Looking Back

  • A revolution in itself is not a blessing.
    -- John C. Calhoun

    #Blessing #Revolution

  • The defence of human liberty against the aggressions of despotic power have been always the most efficient in States where domestic slavery was to prevail.
    -- John C. Calhoun

    #War #Liberty #Slavery

  • I never use the word nation in speaking of the United States. I always use the word Union or Confederacy. We are not a nation but a union, a confederacy of equal and sovereign States.
    -- John C. Calhoun

    #Unity #United States #Use

  • Government has within it a tendency to abuse its powers.
    -- John C. Calhoun

    #Government #Abuse #Tendencies

  • We are not a nation, but a union, a confederacy of equal and sovereign states.
    -- John C. Calhoun

    #Unions #Sovereign #States

  • Property is in its nature timid and seeks protection, and nothing is more gratifying to government than to become a protector.
    -- John C. Calhoun

    #Government #Protection #Property

  • Beware the wrath of a patient adversary.
    -- John C. Calhoun

    #Wrath #Patient #Adversaries

  • I never know what South Carolina thinks of a measure. I never consult her. I act to the best of my judgment, and according to my conscience. If she approves, well and good. If she does not, or wishes any one to take my place, I am ready to vacate. We are even.
    -- John C. Calhoun

    #Thinking #Wish #South Carolina

  • True consistency, that of the prudent and the wise, is to act in conformity with circumstances, and not to act always the same way under a change of circumstances.
    -- John C. Calhoun

    #Wise #Consistency #Way

  • It is federal, because it is the government of States united in a political union, in contradistinction to a government of individuals, that is, by what is usually called, a social compact. To express it more concisely, it is federal and not national because it is the government of a community of States, and not the government of a single State or Nation.
    -- John C. Calhoun

    #Government #Community #Political

  • How can those who are invested with the power of government be prevented from the abuse of those powers as the means of aggrandizing themselves? ... Without a strong constitution to counteract the strong tendency of government to disorder and abuse there can be little progress or improvement.
    -- John C. Calhoun

    #Strong #Mean #Government

  • If we do not defend ourselves none will defend us; if we yield we will be more and more pressed as we recede; and if we submit we will be trampled under foot. I hold concession or compromise to be fatal. If we concede an inch, concession would follow compromise, until our ranks would be so broken that effectual resistance would be impossible.
    -- John C. Calhoun

    #Yield #Feet #Broken

  • 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.
    -- John C. Calhoun

    #Errors #Confusion #Transition

  • The error is in the assumption that the General Government is a party to the constitutional compact. The States ... formed the compact, acting as sovereign and independent communities.
    -- John C. Calhoun

    #Party #Independent #Errors

  • The very essence of a free government consists in considering offices as public trusts, bestowed for the good of the country, and not for the benefit of an individual or a party.
    -- John C. Calhoun

    #Trust #Country #Party

  • [The taxing power of the state] divides the community into two great classes: one consisting of those who, in reality, pay the taxes and, of course, bear exclusively the burden of supporting the government; and the other, of those who are the recipients of their proceeds through disbursements,and who are, in fact, supported by the government; or, in fewer words, to divide it into tax-payers and tax-consumers. But the effect of this is to place them in antagonistic relations in reference to the fiscal action of the government and the entire course of policy therewith connected.
    -- John C. Calhoun

    #Reality #Class #Two

  • Democracy, as I understand it, requires me to sacrifice myself for the masses, not to them. Who knows not that if you would save the people, you must often oppose them?
    -- John C. Calhoun

    #Sacrifice #People #Democracy

  • Protection and patriotism are reciprocal.
    -- John C. Calhoun

    #Political #Protection

  • The object of a Constitution is to restrain the Government, as that of laws is to restrain individuals.
    -- John C. Calhoun

    #Government #Law #Constitution

  • The Union next to our liberties the most dear. May we all remember that it can only be preserved by respecting the rights of the States, and distributing equally the benefits and burdens of the Union.
    -- John C. Calhoun

    #Rights #Liberty #Next

  • I take higher ground. I hold that in the present state of civilization, where two races of different origin, and distinguished by color, and other physical differences, as well as intellectual, are brought together, the relation now existing in the slaveholding States between the two, is, instead of an evil, a good—a positive good. . . . I hold then, that there never has yet existed a wealthy and civilized society in which one portion of the community did not, in point of fact, live on the labor of the other.
    -- John C. Calhoun

    #Race #Color #Civilization

  • It would be well for those interested to reflect whether there now exists, or ever has existed, a wealthy and civilized community in which one portion did not live on the labor of another; and whether the form in which slavery exists in the South is not but one modification of this universal condition... Let those who are interested remember that labor is the only source of wealth, and how small a portion of it, in all old and civilized countries, even the best governed, is left to those by whose labor wealth is created.
    -- John C. Calhoun

    #Country #Community #Would Be

  • A power has risen up in the government greater than the people themselves, consisting of many and various powerful interests, combined in one mass, and held together by the cohesive power of the vast surplus in banks.
    -- John C. Calhoun

    #Powerful #Government #People

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