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The Ghost Of John C. Calhoun Haunts Today’s American Left

John Daniel Davidson, The Federalist

From its founding, Americans really did believe in their principles—and were acutely aware of the gulf between those principles and practice, above all the practice of slavery. That’s one reason more than one-third of the states between 1776 and 1800 abolished slavery, and even more of them, including southern states, restricted it. That’s also why Calhoun, a generation later, had to construct an entirely new political philosophy, based on junk science and metaphysical determinism, of American government: he knew it would be impossible to preserve slavery under the Founders’ constitutional system.