John C. Calhoun: “On the Second Resolution Reported by the Committee on Foreign Relations”

(1811)

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. On December 12, 1811, he helped change the course of America with a speech—“On the Second Resolution Reported by the Committee on Foreign Relations”—that radically altered the balance of power in the House of Representatives, and he became a figure of national prominence. From that day onward, his speeches and writings were republished in newspapers; they were discussed in homes, businesses, legislatures, and even taverns. To Americans of his day, Calhoun was one of the most important politicians in the nation and a key interpreter of the Constitution. He may also have been the most outspoken defender of the South....

Image for: John C. Calhoun: “On the Second Resolution Reported by the Committee on Foreign Relations”

John C. Calhoun (Library of Congress)

View Full Size