September 24, 2013
John C. Calhoun John C. Calhoun was a very opinionated American politician as well as a political theorist. He is known for many things including the defense of slavery long before the civil war as being a positive thing. To build his reputation, Calhoun redefined republicanism to include such things as the approval of slavery and minority rights. He is known for his title of “War Hawk” because he led this party as if it were his own creation. Born in 1782 in Abbeville District, SC, John C. Calhoun was the fourth child of Patrick Calhoun and Martha Caldwell. His father emigrated to the backcountry of South Carolina from County Donegal, Ireland. When John C. Calhoun was 17 years old his father became quite ill and John quit school to help his family and work on their farm. Luckily for America, his brother was able to fund his return to school and Calhoun earned a degree from Yale College, Phi Beta Kappa in 1804. He then studied law at the Tapping Reeve Law School and was admitted to the South Carolina Bar in 1807. He then married Floride Bonneau Colhoun in 1811 and had ten children, three of which died during infancy. The strong combination of hard work and intelligence in his upbringing is a model for the rest of his career as an American politician. Many of his achievements are notable and he has done more in his time as a politician than most people do in their entire lives. One of his great feats was being the leader of the “War Hawks”. Another was being such a strong nationalist and incorporating many advanced policies into the American Army as well as the country itself. He was also the Secretary of war from 1817 to 1827. He reigned in this position with an iron fist and improved our country in ways that are still evident today such as permanent roads. He was also Vice President for eight years beginning in 1824 and serving under two different presidents. He then went on to become a U.S. Senator and continued to achieve greatness.
When people think of America they think of a strong country that stands together to fight for what they believe in. We practice democracy which can divide people’s opinions, yet we stand together when it comes to our country’s well-being. Strength and conviction are two founding qualities that make our country so great even today. These two qualities were originally obtained from a man that fought for what he believed in, no matter how great the distortion of his public image. John C. Calhoun had the strength and conviction to fight for America, and today we continue to fight. That feeling of pride everyone gets when they see the stars and stripes, or even a bald eagle, was only made possible because Calhoun molded this country in his own image.
Although he may have been fighting for something that was considered immoral, as well as vulgar nowadays, his message was always clear. Calhoun was a stick to his guns type of man. He never swayed his opinion or gave into anyone else’s theories or beliefs based on things such as moral merit or how it would make him look. Everything that he did had a purpose and he didn’t care whether or not people liked him based on his positions. He was known to be strong and was called different things to reinforce this image. One name he was given was the “cast-iron man” due to his strength of ideals. Another nickname given to Calhoun was “War Hawk”. Being “a high-strung man of ultra intellectual cast”, Calhoun was never noted for charisma or charm. However, he was a very talented organizer and an intellectual genius. In 1810 he won his first election into Congress and became the leader of the “War Hawks”. He was then made the acting chairman of the powerful committee of foreign affairs. It was his committee that waged the War of 1812 and this spread his name across the nation. Calhoun did everything in his power to remain strong during the war including laboring to raise troops, to provide funds and regulate…