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John Caldwell Calhoun

president war elected vice

Calhoun, John Caldwell (1782–1850), U.S. congressman, secretary of war, senator, and vice-president known for his lifelong defense of southern interests. Born in South Carolina, he was elected in 1811 to the U.S. House of Representatives, where he ardently supported the War of 1812. In 1817 he was appointed secretary of war by President James Monroe, and in 1824 was elected vice-president under President John Quincy Adams. Calhoun wrote a defense of the states' rights philosophy, which declared that when a state found a federal law in violation of the Constitution, the state had the right to consider the law void. Calhoun served a second term as vice-president under Andrew Jackson but resigned in 1832. He was soon elected to the Senate, where he became the South's leading spokesman. He argued passionately in favor of slavery and the secession of the Southern states.

See also: Secession.

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