Volume IV • Volume V • Volume XV • Volume XVII •Volume XXI • Volume XXII • Volume XXIII
Volume XXIV • Volume XXV • Volume XXVI • Volume XXVII • Volume XXVIII • About the Editors
A Disquisition on Government and A Discourse on the Constitution and Government of the United States
The Papers of John C. Calhoun, Volume XXVIII is the final volume in a distinguished documentary edition, the first volume of which was published more than fifty years ago. While identical to others in the series in terms of typeface, binding, and letterpress printing, this volume does not contain any of John C. Calhoun's personal papers, rather it features Calhoun's only formal, scholarly writings on political science and political philosophy.
"A Disquisition on Government" is an examination of the first principles of political science, much in the model of Aristotle's Politics or Baron Montesquieu's Spirit of the Laws. It examines basic principles of politics, including concepts of sovereignty and personal liberty and the relationships between states and nations.
"A Discourse on the Constitution and Government of the United States" is a focused study of American political thought and constitutional history since the ratification of the Constitution. It pays particular attention to antifederalist views of the Constitution, the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions of the 1790s, and the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the Constitution. Comparable to the Federalist, Calhoun's "Discourse" articulates a southern-based, states' rights interpretation of the Constitution and examines the course of American political history from the viewpoint of the southern statesman.
Calhoun began writing the essays around 1845. His "Disquisition" was near final form at the time of his death, but the "Discourse" was still an unpolished draft. A year after Calhoun's death in 1850, Richard Kenner Crallé, a former secretary in the Department of State and a friend of Calhoun's, was entrusted by the Calhoun heirs to edit the essays for publication. Since the Crallé edition, it has been assumed that the two essays were separate works. However, as the Calhoun Papers staff prepared the concluding volume of letters, speeches, and remarks, they discovered evidence that Calhoun had intended the two essays to be a single, unified work of political theory and a critical examination of America's remarkable experiment in republican government. Whether published separately or together, these essays are among the classical texts of American political thought.
(2003) 254 pages, cloth, ISBN 978-1-57003-502-9
Volume XXVII (1849–1850)
The Papers of John C. Calhoun, Volume XXVII concludes the half-century project of the scholarly edition and publication of the letters, speeches, and papers of John C. Calhoun. This volume chronicles Calhoun's last sojourn at his Fort Hill home in the fall of 1849, his final months in Washington and fatal illness, and critical phases of the "free soil" controversy. Calhoun died on March 31, 1850, after a career of political service that began in 1808 and included membership in the South Carolina and United States Houses of Representatives, the United States Senate, the vice presidency, and executive posts as secretary of war and secretary of state. This volume also includes an extensive supplement of documents from 1804 to 1848 that were not available for inclusion in earlier volumes.
(2003) 596 pages, cloth, ISBN 978-1-57003-493-0
Volume XXVI (1848–1849)
This edition of The Papers of John C. Calhoun presents documents from August 1848 through July 1849 that elaborate on the statesman's labors of his last years. Chief among Calhoun's efforts was his work to rally united action among Southerners in defense of their institutions and constitutional rights. The character of Calhoun's attempts is clearly illustrated by his philosophical confrontation of the doctrine that "all men are created equal" by declaring "the proposition to be untrue and mischievous" in a speech given on June 27, 1848. The work of Calhoun to complete his "Disquisition on Government"—his desire to leave a lasting legacy to political science—further illuminates his stance on such fundamental issues as the nature of man in society and the natural responsibilities of governments and the governed. This penultimate volume concludes within eight months of Calhoun's death at his post in Washington, D.C.
(2001) 576 pages, cloth, ISBN 978-1-57003-393-3
Volume XXV (1847–1848)
A complete presentation of John C. Calhoun's extant documents and speeches from December 1847 through August 1848, volume XXV brings the statesman to within a year and a half of his death in Washington, D.C. These papers reveal his three primary concerns during the first session of the thirtieth Congress: limiting the Mexican War objectives in an effort to dampen enthusiasm for imperial conquest, continuing his critique of the two-party system, and developing southern unity in response to the struggle over slavery in the territories. The volume includes primary document that describe Calhoun's widely studied stand on the Wilmot Proviso and his commentary on Europe's revolutionary fervor.
(1999) 768 pages, cloth, ISBN 978-1-57003-306-3
Volume XXIV (1846–1847)
The Papers of John C. Calhoun ushers in the final, tumultuous phase in the statesman's public life. Concluding with less than three years remaining in Calhoun's forty-year career, the volume underscores the importance of two themes that dominated Calhoun's concerns—the efforts of the Northern majority to exclude the South from territories being won in battle and, equally important, his continuing campaign to curb American imperialism, which in Calhoun's mind, boded ill for republican virtue.
(1997) 800 pages, cloth, ISBN 978-1-57003-209-7
Volume XXIII (1846)
The Papers of John C. Calhoun, Volume XXIII, 1846 covers the last nine months in a year historians often refer to as pivotal in U.S. history. In 1846 the twenty-ninth congress faced such significant issues as the Oregon crisis, the Mexican War, tariff reform, and the initial stages of the dispute over the Wilmot proviso. In all of these matters Calhoun served as a primary player. In addition to compiling Calhoun's correspondence, speeches, and assorted papers, the volume features documents of philosophical interest, including Calhoun's report on internal improvements and his essay on proposed changes to the South Carolina constitution.
(1996) 780 pages, cloth, ISBN 978-1-57003-104-5
Volume XXII (1845–1846)
Volume XXII documents the period from July 1845 through March 1846 and covers John C. Calhoun's stormy relations with the Polk administration. Calhoun's papers from these nine months shed light on tariff and free trade movements on both sides of the Atlantic, U.S. relations with Mexico, and the debate over federal funding of internal improvements. They also cover Calhoun's longest, most important, and last public journey—one which took him to Mobile, Montgomery, New Orleans, Natchez, Vicksburg, and finally to Memphis where he served as president of a widely attended Southwestern Convention. The volume closes exactly four years from the end of Calhoun's life.
(1995) 836 pages, cloth, ISBN 978-1-57003-023-9
Volume XXI (January–June 1845)
Volume XXI covers the first six months of 1845, including Calhoun's last weeks as Secretary of State and the intervening months before he returned to the U.S. Senate. In addition to the inauguration of James K. Polk, the first half of 1845 witnessed the realization of Calhoun's goal to bring the Republic of Texas into the Union. It was a time of transition for an American political scene about to undergo drastic changes and for Calhoun as he prepared to enter a last, conflicted chapter of his career. This volume summarizes a vast documentary record of his service as Secretary of State.
(1993) 648 pages, cloth, ISBN 978-0-87249-889-1
Volume XVII (1843–1844)
(1987) 961 pages, cloth, ISBN 978-0-87249-483-1
Volume XV (1839–1841)
(1984) 880 pages, cloth, ISBN 0-87249-418-7
Volume V (1820–1821)
(1971) 761 pages, cloth, ISBN 978-0-87249-210-3
Volume IV (1819–1820)
(1969) 800 pages, cloth, ISBN 0-87249-150-1
Clyde N. Wilson is a professor of history at the University of South Carolina and the editor of The Papers of John C. Calhoun, volumes X-XXIV.
Shirley B. Cook is an associate editor of The Papers of John C. Calhoun. She has worked with the project since 1970.
Alexander Moore is the former executive director of the South Carolina Historical Society and an author of The History of Beaufort County, South Carolina: Volume I, 1514–1861.