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[80] century was utterly opposed; slavery here and everywhere was doomed to be beaten down by the tide of humanitarianism, while localism, and sectionalism, and all other tendencies to exclusiveness and segregation, were at variance with those great forces of aggregation and of nation-building which were manifest in the whole civilized world. Calhoun's great talents were actually devoted to elaboration and vehement promulgation of theories to the effect that the American Union was a clever political system devised for the express purpose of protecting peculiar local interests against external attack; and the chief local interest was the ‘peculiar institution’ of the South!

Calhoun's important contributions to the theory of American government began in 1828 in connection with the agitation in South Carolina about the tariff question. From that time on, his attention was largely devoted to inculcating the doctrine that the state had the right under the Constitution to protect its local interest against national aggression. His task was, and needed to be, in the presence of the growing power of the North, to develop principles for the protection of the minority, and in his quest for these doctrines he worked out a notable series of constitutional principles and philosophical theories.

Between 1828 and 1833 he developed his theories in defence of nullification by a single state. The basis of the right is of course the sovereignty of the state, and Calhoun insisted on indivisibility of sovereignty. ‘I maintain,’ he said, ‘that sovereignty is in its nature indivisible. It is the supreme power in a state, and we might just as well speak of half a square, or half of a triangle, as half a sovereignty.’ Probably it is not quite evident that one cannot justly speak of half a square; but without cavilling at his illustration we may see that in these words he swept aside statements which had been common before this time, to the effect that states, coming into the Union, surrendered a portion of their sovereignty and retained the remainder. Beneath his whole reasoning, therefore, lay the principles of what we may call organic philosophy, the recognition of the vital character of the body politic, though, of course, in this case, the body politic was the commonwealth, not the nation. He also believed that mere agreement could not establish law or political unity. This notion, at variance

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