Monday, April 28, 2008

What Hath John C. Calhoun Wrought

Having discussed and quoted from John Caldwell Calhoun’s initial speeches against the war against Mexico, I thought I’d give you a real historian’s more balanced view of the South Carolina Senator’s multiple motivations:
Fundamentally, Calhoun was not interested in territorial acquisitions unless they promised to strengthen the power of slavery. Texas certainly did, but not California and New Mexico, which the South Carolinian foresaw would provoke sectional conflict while offering little practical likelihood of slavery’s extension. He worried that war with Mexico might jeopardize relations with Britain, on which cotton-growers so heavily depended. He also feared to acquire a Mexican population of mixed race that, if enfranchised, would breach the virtual monopoly of political power enjoyed by white Americans.

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