Wednesday, July 8, 2009

what I learned this week: John C. Calhoun and Reactionary Scientific Socialism

So for those of you who have spent less time than me reading about the post-Jacksonian pre-Lincoln congress. Here's all you need to know- all the presidents between 1840 and 1860 were basically functionally (and in some cases non-functionally) retarded. The governing fell primarily to the congress which was led by this handsome trio

Henry Clay
Henry Clay

Daniel Webster
Daniel Webster

and John C. Calhoun
http://www.christers.net/veeps/john-c-calhoun.gif

John C. Calhoun, the southerner of the three, has long been one of my least favorite figures in American History. He was behind the nullification crisis of 1830 (when S. Carolina decided that they had the right to ignore national tax law), which was the primary legal basis for secession and the civil war.

I was just reading this book by Richard Hofstadter. Calhoun, despite his monstrous positions on almost every issue, apparently arrived at a sort of scientific socialism BEFORE marx did. But here is the kicker.

He was a horrible reactionary, and felt that the inevitability of proletarian revolution was the worst possible thing. So he sought to make bargains with North-eastern industrialists to push himself into power, giving just enough to the southern working poor that he could somehow avert this rising up of the lower class.

That shit blew my mind.

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