John C. Calhoun: “On the Slavery Question”

(1850)

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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 a key interpreter of the Constitution. He may also have...