The Morrow Book of Quotations in American History

By Joseph R. Conlin | Go to book overview
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John C. Calhoun (1782-1850): Senator from South Carolina and political theorist

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.

( Speech in the Senate, 15 February 1833)

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.

( Speech in the Senate, 13 February 1835)

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

( Speech, 27 May 1836)

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 feel myself called upon to speak freely upon the subject where the honor and interests of those I represent are involved. 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.

( Speech in the Senate, January 1837)

The difficulty is in the diversity of the races. So strongly drawn is the line between the two in consequence, and so strengthened by the force of habit and education, that it is impossible for them to exist together in the community, where their numbers are so nearly equal as in the slaveholding states, under any other relation than that which now exists.

(Ibid.)

It is a great and dangerous error to suppose that all people are equally entitled to liberty.

(Ibid.)

-59-

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