News Ticker

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Today in History

1945: Congress officially recognizes the Pledge of Allegiance.

1895: Cinema makes its debut when the Lumière brothers show a film to their first paying audience, in Paris.

1846: Iowa is admitted as the twenty-ninth state.

1832: John C. Calhoun becomes the first Vice-President to resign.


Becky said...

why was John the first vice president to resign? I don't remember....

ChefTom said...

John Caldwell Calhoun (March 18, 1782 – March 31, 1850) was a leading United States Southern politician from South Carolina during the first half of the 19th century. Calhoun was an advocate of slavery, states' rights, limited government, and nullification.

He was the first Vice President, (March 4, 1825 – December 28, 1832), under two different Presidents, Adams and Jackson, born as a U.S. citizen (his predecessors were born before the revolution) and also the first Vice President to resign his office.

After a short stint in the South Carolina legislature, where he wrote legislation making South Carolina the first state to adopt universal suffrage for white men, Calhoun, barely 30, began his federal career as a staunch nationalist, favoring war with Britain in 1812.

However, it is said by some historians, without stating clearly their point, that in the 1820s, the sometimes known as "Corrupt Bargain" of 1824 by Speaker of the House at the time, Henry Clay giving the Presidency, (March 4, 1825 – March 4, 1829), to 6th President John Quincy Adams, Henry Clay being rewarded with the Secretary of State under Adams, rather than to 7th President Andrew Jackson, (March 4, 1829 – March 4, 1837) led him to renounce nationalism in favor of states' rights of the sort Thomas Jefferson and James Madison had propounded in the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions of 1798.

By going into senatorial duties, renouncing to the Vice Presidency, in 1832, he got more power, apparently, than keeping associated to Jackson.

Although he died almost 11 years before the American Civil War broke out, Calhoun is considered to have been a major inspiration to the secessionists who created the short-lived Confederate States of America. Nicknamed the "cast-iron man" for his staunch determination to defend the causes in which he believed, Calhoun pushed nullification, under which states could declare null and void federal laws they deemed to be unconstitutional.[citation needed] He was an outspoken proponent of the institution of slavery, which he defended as a "positive good" rather than as a "necessary evil".[2] His rhetorical defense of slavery was partially responsible for escalating Southern threats of secession in the face of mounting abolitionist sentiment in the North.[citation needed] He was part of the "Great Triumvirate", or the "Immortal Trio", along with his colleagues Daniel Webster and Henry Clay.

He served in the United States House of Representatives (1810–1817) and was Secretary of War (1817–1824) under 5th U. S. President James Monroe and Secretary of State (1844–1845) under 10th U. S. President John Tyler.