John C. Calhoun: “Slavery a Positive Good”

(1837)

From the moment he entered public life, John C. Calhoun was an impressive figure. When young members took control of the House of Representatives, Calhoun quickly became Speaker Henry Clay’s floor leader and ably carried out his duties of persuasion among representatives in order to get legislation moved through committees and to votes. To Americans of his day, Calhoun was one of the most important politicians in the nation and an able interpreter of the Constitution. He viewed the document as a compact between the federal government and the individual states—a key concept in...

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John C. Calhoun (Library of Congress)

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