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“C” is for Calhoun, John Caldwell

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  “C” is for Calhoun, John Caldwell [1782-1850]. Congressman, secretary of war, secretary of state, vice president of the United States, US senator. In 1810 Calhoun won a seat in Congress, thus beginning a long, distinguished, and controversial career in national politics. He was President Monroe's secretary of war and later was vice president under both John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson. Resigning from office, Calhoun was elected to the U.S. Senate where he became a national figure. He developed the doctrine of nullification as a constitutional mechanism that allowed individual states to assert their rights against the power of the federal government. Calhoun spent the remainder of his career as the leading strategist of an evolving southern sectionalism. John Caldwell Calhoun stands second only to James Madison as an original political thinker among practicing politicians in American life.

Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar received his B.A. degree from Davidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.