A Disquisition On Government AKA Calhoun's Compact/Nullification Theory

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Banished Forever
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Aug 17, 2011
Birmingham, Alabama
We have a long and elaborate essay on the nature of US government as Calhoun saw it.
Vol 1: The Works of John C. Calhoun
A Disquisition On Government

Because Calhoun cannot use Supreme Court of the US decisions, constitutional law or anything in the legal areas, he is going to appeal to natural law, philosophy and ancient understandings of government. The secessionist will use Calhoun work for their understanding of compact and secession. However that use is not the one Calhoun intended. Disquisition On Government will be the basis for the nullification crisis and was intended to defend slavery leading to all the turmoil leading to the Civil War.

In order to have a clear and just conception of the nature and object of government, it is indispensable to understand correctly what that constitution or law of our nature is, in which government originates; or, to express it more fully and accurately,—that law, without which government would not, and with which, it must necessarily exist. Without this, it is as impossible to lay any solid foundation for the science of government, as it would be to lay one for that of astronomy, without a like understanding of that constitution or law of the material world, according to which the several bodies composing the solar system mutually act on each other, and by which they are kept in their respective spheres. The first question, accordingly, to be considered is,—What is that constitution or law of our nature, without which government would not exist, and with which its existence is necessary ?
In considering this, I assume, as an incontestable fact, that man is so constituted as to be a social being. His inclinations and wants, physical and moral, irresistibly impel him to associate with his kind ; and he has, accordingly, never been found, in any age or country, in any state other than the social. In no other, indeed, could he exist ; and in no other, —were it possible for him to exist,—could he at tain to a full development of his moral and intellectual faculties, or raise himself, in the scale of be ing,Imuch above the level of the brute creation.
I next assume, also, as a fact not less incontestable, that, while man is so constituted as to make the social state necessary to his existence and the full development of his faculties, this state itself cannot exist without government. The assumption rests on universal experience. In no age or country has any society or community ever been found, whether enlightened or savage, without government of some description.
Having assumed these, as unquestionable phenomena of our nature, I shall, without further re mark, proceed to the investigation of the primary and important question,—What is that constitution of our nature, which, while it impels man to associate with his kind, renders it impossible for society to exist without government ?

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