John Caldwell Calhoun was a US politician and statesman from the US State of South Carolina. He was elected as the 7th US Vice President from the year 1825 till 1832. Historians and politicians remember him as a staunch supporter and advocate of minority rights. He also served as a Congressman, Secretary of State and Secretary of War.
In this article, we’ve gathered some exciting and fascinating facts about this politician for our readers.
John C. Calhoun: 8 facts about this cast-iron US politician
1. John Calhoun was born in South Carolina
Calhoun was born in Abbeville District of South Carolina on March 18, 1782. He was the youngest among his siblings. Calhoun’s parents Patrick Calhoun and Martha Caldwell were members of the Scotch-Irish immigration movement and had migrated from a county in Ireland to the Southern part of the US State of Pennsylvania.
2. He started farming at the age of 14
His father died when he was 14 years old, after which Calhoun started to manage the family farm and other farms. In the year 1802, Calhoun’s elder brothers admitted him to Yale College in the US State of Connecticut. At Yale College, Calhoun was tutored by Timothy Dwight, president at Yale, about Jeffersonian democratic belief and republicanism, an interesting fact about John Calhoun.
After graduating from Yale, Calhoun took admission at Litchfield Law School in Connecticut. He remained a talented student throughout his academic career. At one point, he had to continue his studies privately because he was unable to find a suitable school in Carolina.
3. Calhoun married the daughter of a Senator
In the year 1811, he married Floride Bonneau Colhoun, who was the daughter of a prominent US lawyer and Senator, John E. Colhoun. Soon after the marriage, Calhoun and his wife joined the Episcopal Church. In fact, his wife was already a member of this Church. The couple had 10 children, and 3 of them, including Jane, Floride Pure, and Elizabeth died during infancy. The couple’s child named Anna Maria married Clemson University’s founder, Thomas Green Clemson.
4. He was a member of the House of Representatives
Calhoun was elected as a member of the House of Representatives in the year 1810. After assuming charge as a member of the House, he became head of the War Hawks with a couple of other congress members, including William Lowndes and Langdon Cheves from South Carolina and Speaker Henry Clay from Kentucky.
An interesting fact about John Calhoun is that he was a staunch supporter of nationalism and demanded to wage war against Britain in 1812 to uphold US honor. US President James Monroe elected Calhoun as Secretary of War until 1825. In this regard, he prioritized moving the navy to the front position.
5. He was elected Vice President during Adams tenure
Calhoun contested election for the office of the president of the United States way back in the year 1824. Adams, Crawford, Henry Clay, and Jackson were also contesting the election. Calhoun’s supporters abandoned him in Jackson’s favor and supported Calhoun for Vice President Office. On December 1, 1824, the Electoral College elected him as Vice President. Later in 1828, he was re-elected for the same office.
6. He became a member of Nullifier Party
During 1820, John C. Calhoun allied with the Nullifier Party of South Carolina. The Nullifier Party supported to uphold the states’ rights against federal control. After the Nullification Crisis in 1832, Calhoun was forced to quit the office as vice president.
7. Calhoun was a defender of slavery
In the year 1843, he was serving as US Secretary of State during the presidential tenure of John Tyler. At one point, he wrote a letter to the British ambassador and defended slavery. When he was re-elected as Senator in 1845, Calhoun supported slavery and voted against Compromise of 1850. An interesting fact about John Calhoun is that he was of the view that slavery is a good and positive thing.
Regarding peasants, Calhoun was of the view that farmers from the country’s Northern part can move to the West along with their belongings, including tools and animals. Meanwhile, when farmers from the South wanted to move to other parts of the country, they cannot bring their belongings along with them because they were slaves.
8. He died in 1850 before the approval of Compromise of 1850
Calhoun suffered from Tuberculosis and died in Washington on March 31, 1850. He was 68 years old at the time of his death. Calhoun was laid to rest at Saint Philip’s cemetery in South Carolina. Historians have claimed that his remains were shifted secretly to an unknown grave during the Civil War. This was done due to concerns raised by his friends that Federal troops could destroy his tomb. In the year 1871, his body was shifted back to the original grave.
After his death, Calhoun was remembered as a controversial politician for several years. A college at Yale University was named after him, and it sparked protest demonstrations in the city. The Yale administration, after taking into account the prevailing law and order situation, announced that the college’s new name would not be reverted to the old one, and it will stay the same.
While Calhoun was on deathbed, his last words reportedly were “The South, the poor South!” His widow, Floride, died in 1866 and was buried at Saint Paul’s Episcopal Cemetery in South Carolina. She was laid to rest near her children and at a distance from her husband.
Readers, there were some of the fantastic facts about this statesman. After his death, the US government honoured him by issuing a commemorative postage stamp in 1862. A memorial was established in his honour in South Carolina, while several streets, schools, and places were named after him. Actor Arliss Howard played the role of Calhoun in the film, Amistad which was released in 1997.
Calhoun was also a good writer, and some of his notable works include A Discourse on the Constitution of the United States and A Disquisition on Government. The two of his books represent his sensible approach towards US politics. He also wrote a letter to his daughter Anna in which he summarized everything about his life and career.
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