John C. Calhoun
A Disquisition on Government (1848), selections
"The Nature of Man and the Origin of Government"
According to Calhoun, to understand the nature of government, one must also understand the nature of its creator, man. He begins by asking, "What is that constitution or law of our nature without which government would not exist and with which its existence is necessary?" In answering this question, Calhoun makes two assumptions: First, man is a social
showed first 75 words of 1985 total
showed last 75 words of 1985 total
of others." With such well-qualified representatives, the prevailing desire would be to promote the common interests of the whole. This is the feature that so strikingly distinguishes the concurrent majority from the numerical. Calhoun concludes by decrying that a numerical majority is motivated by reluctance, hostility, injustice and oppression, while a concurrent majority is motivated "willingly and cheerfully, under the impulse of an exalted patriotism, impelling all to acquiesce in whatever the common good requires."