The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 56, July 1952 - April, 1953

Book Reviews

Orleans architectural history, are extraordinarily informative
regarding the city's historic buildings.
Here, then, is a conjunction of useful, readable source materials
and laboriously accomplished documentation. The volume is
handsomely manufactured, and the reproductions of Latrobe's
sketches deserve special commendation.
WILLIAM R. HOGAN
Tulane University
The Political Theory of John C. Calhoun. By August O. Spain.
New York (Bookman Associates), 1951. Pp. 306. $3.50.
The reappearance of the Confederate battle flag flying along-
side fraternity stickers on the more svelte of convertibles is only
one symptom of an interesting contemporary phenomenon in
American political life. Books on John C. Calhoun, of which
several were released in the past year, are another aspect of the
same development. The exhuming of a defunct political theory
is not by any means necessarily a waste of energy, although it
may be utterly impractical. The amazing thing is that a political
philosophy so discredited and so unrealistic should absorb such
quantities of scholarly work, which in Mr. Spain's study is very
evident.
Mr. Spain re-examines the old and very familiar contentions
of Calhoun and his school, the members of which significantly
enough seem to have been primarily southern American and
German. No student of American history can ignore either the
Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions or the South Carolina Exposi-
tion. It seems evident, too, that he can overlook neither Thomas
Jefferson's first inaugural address, nor Andrew Jackson's veto
message on the renewal of the charter of the Second United States
Bank, nor the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth amendments.
If the gist of the one selection of documents is that the minority
must be considered by the majority, the meaning of the other
group is also clear: the majority must rule.
The status of Calhoun as a political philosopher must of
necessity be considered in the light of the fact that he was
American. Even Calhoun agreed that the majority must rule, a
sound American principle and a defendable one in political
theory. The importance of that fact lies in the pragmatic nature

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 56, July 1952 - April, 1953. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101145/. Accessed December 28, 2014.