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Ill Literacy, Episode XXIX: Calhoun: American Heretic (Guest: Robert Elder)

April 15, 2021

In Episode XXIX of Ill Literacy, Tim Benson talks with Robert Elder, author of Calhoun: American Heretic.

Heartland’s Tim Benson is joined by Robert Elder, associate professor of history at Baylor University and author to discuss his new book, Calhoun: American Heretic. They discuss Calhoun’s upbringing in backwoods South Carolina, his political career as congressman, senator, vice president, secretary of war, and secretary of state. They also chat about his influential, long-lived, and much debated political philosophy, specifically on the “Calhoun Doctrine,” the idea of the “concurrent majority” and the rights of the minority, nullification, secession, and the development of the idea of slavery as a “positive good.” Lastly, the discuss why we need to still reckon with Calhoun’s thought and legacy today to have an accurate understanding of America.

Get the book here: https://www.basicbooks.com/titles/robert-elder/calhoun/9780465096459/

Show Notes:

The New Criterion: Allen C. Guelzo – “American heretic, American Burke”

https://newcriterion.com/issues/2021/2/american-heretic-american-burke

New York Journal of Books: Francis P. Sempa – “Calhoun: American Heretic”

https://www.nyjournalofbooks.com/book-review/calhoun-american-heretic

New York Times: Andrew Delbanco – “John C. Calhoun: Protector of Minorities?”

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/16/books/review/calhoun-robert-elder.html

Wall Street Journal: Jonathan Horn – “‘Calhoun’ Review: The Nullifier and His Legacy”

https://www.wsj.com/articles/calhoun-review-the-nullifiers-mixed-legacy-11612541709

Washington Examiner: Charlotte Allen – “The ghost of John C. Calhoun”

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/politics/the-ghost-of-john-c-calhoun-review-of-calhoun-american-heretic

Article Tags
Constitutional Reform
Author
Tim Benson joined The Heartland Institute in September 2015 as a policy analyst in the Government Relations Department.
TBenson@heartland.org @HeartlandGR