A Disquisition on Government: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

A Disquisition on Government

1st Edition

By Etienne Stockland, Jason Xidias

Macat Library

98 pages

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Paperback: 9781912128730
pub: 2017-07-05
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Description

Nineteenth-century American politician John C. Calhoun occupies a paradoxical place in the history of political thought – and of critical thinking.

On one hand, he is remembered as a committed advocate of slavery, consistently espousing views that are now considered indefensible and abhorrent. On the other, the political theories that Calhoun used to defend the social injustice of slavery have become the basis of the very systems by which modern democracies defend minority rights.

Despite being crafted in defence of a system as unjust as slavery, the arguments that Calhoun expressed about minority rights in democracies in A Disquisition On Government remain an excellent example of how problem solving skills and reasoning can come together. The problem, for Calhoun, was both specific and general. As matters stood in the late 1840s, the majority of American states were anti-slavery, with only the minority, Southern states remaining pro-slavery. This boiled down to a crucial issue with democracy: the US government should not, Calhoun argued, only respect the wishes of the majority. Instead, democratic government must aim to harmonize diverse groups and their interests – governing, in so far as possible, for everyone. His analysis of how the Southern states could protect what he saw as their right to keep slaves led Calhoun to formulate solutions to the problem of ‘the tyranny of the majority’ that have since helped defend far worthier minority views.

Table of Contents

Ways In to the Text

Who was John C. Calhoun?

What does A Disquisition on Government Say?

Why does A Disquisition on Government Matter?

Section 1: Influences

Module 1: The Author and the Historical Context

Module 2: Academic Context

Module 3: The Problem

Module 4: The Author's Contribution

Section 2: Ideas

Module 5: Main Ideas

Module 6: Secondary Ideas

Module 7: Achievement

Module 8: Place in the Author's Work

Section 3: Impact

Module 9: The First Responses

Module 10: The Evolving Debate

Module 11: Impact and Influence Today

Module 12: Where Next?

Glossary of Terms

People Mentioned in the Text

Works Cited

About the Series

The Macat Library

Great Works for Critical Thinking

Making the ideas of the world’s great thinkers accessible, affordable, and comprehensible to everybody, everywhere. 

With a growing list of over 180 titles across a broad range of subject areas, Macat works with leading academics from the world’s top universities to produce new analyses that focus on the ideas and the impact of the most influential works ever written. By setting them in context – and looking at the influences that shaped their authors, as well as the responses they provoked – Macat encourages readers to look at these classics and game-changers with fresh eyes.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ART000000
ART / General
POL000000
POLITICAL SCIENCE / General
POL010000
POLITICAL SCIENCE / History & Theory