implement various mechanisms, nullificationrnand the concurrent majorityrnamong them, to protect the rights andrnliberties of the minority section. Althoughrnhe never abandoned his attachmentrnto the Union, he maintained thatrnhis rivals had perverted it by transformingrnthe government into an instrumentrnof patronage.rnCalhoun suffered to behold the nationrnabandoned to party hacks andrnspoilsmen. Only honorable, autonomous,rnand dispassionate gentlemen whornwere not prey to the intrigues or obsessionsrnof the moment had the authority tornrule. Never at ease with the mass politicsrnthat emerged during the first half of thern19th centurv, Calhoun himself found itrnimpossible “to speak to the democraticrnspirit of the new age.”rnSteadfast in his fidelity to the Old Republic,rnCalhoun always proclaimed tornact from the most noble motives, withoutrnconsideration of political advantage.rnBartlett maintains that Calhoun mayrnhave rationalized to his own satisfactionrn”the fiction that he remained above thernpolitical scramble.” But he concludesrnthat “it would be a mistake to takernCalhoun at face value,” since “he was nornselfless knight in shining armor.”rnBartlett is doubtless correct that Calhounrnat times acted to gratify his politicalrnambition. But what politician doesrnnot? The real question is whether Calhounrnwas a political opportunist whornsought to advance his career at the expensernof the country. It seems to mernthat Calhoun sacrificed political ambitionrnin defense of all that he cherished.rnIt would have been a simple matter forrnCalhoun to win the presidency, as hisrncolleague Dixon Lewis of Alabama recognized,rnhad he supported the popularrnwar against Mexico. He refused to do so,rnarguing that the declaration of war hadrnbeen unconstitutional. Even in victory,rnhe was convinced that the war wouldrnbring disaster to the United States by requiringrnthe imposition of a crushingrndebt, encouraging the centralization ofrnpower, necessitating the creation of arnlarge standing army, and transforming arnrepublic of free institutions into an empirernbent on conquest. “Mexico is to usrnthe forbidden fruit,” he told his fellowrnsenators. “The penalty of eating it wouldrnbe to subject our institutions to politicalrndeath.”rnCalhoun’s defense of slavery, howeverrnessential for his political survival in thernSouth, was also in the final analysis morerna matter of conviction than of expediency.rnCalhoun never questioned the naturalrninferiority of blacks and asserted, inrnunison with other pro-slavery theorists,rnthat “there never yet has existedrna wealthv and civilized society in whichrnone portion of the community did notrn. , . live on the labor of the other.” ForrnCalhoun and his Southern contemporaries,rnhowever, domestic slaveryrnhumanized the exploitation of labor,rnimposing reciprocal obligations on mastersrnand slaves. Southerners deploredrnthe political, social, and moral, if not thernmaterial, consequences of industrialismrnand capitalism that exposed men, women,rnand children alike to brutality, degradation,rnand hopelessness. They believedrnthat a society in which some men tookrnpersonal responsibilit’ for the welfare ofrnothers was the sole preserve of republicanrnfreedom and Christian morality. FromrnCalhoun’s point of view, whether thernSouth stood or fell would determine thernfate of the American Republic itself.rnCalhoun did not live to witness therndevastation of the South in the Civil Warrnthat he had warned against and had desperatelyrnsought to prevent. But he hadrnseen enough bv 1850 to know that thernOld Republic in which he had come ofrnage, and to which he owed whatever distinctionrnhe had earned, was swiftly passingrninto memory. He had, as Bartlettrndiscerns, fought under the same bannerrnas his father before him:rnCalhoun knew that he was thernson of a legend and had becomerna legend himself. Blessed with advantagesrnof wealth and educationrnfar beyond anything his fatherrnpossessed, he had tried to carry onrnhis father’s struggles in a new andrnrapidly changing wodd. Patrick’srnenemies yvere not his father’s enemiesrn. . . but in many ways thernstakes were the same for fatherrnand son. With one foot always inrnthe wilderness, the father had putrnhis life on the line to carve civilizationrnout of a brutal frontier.rnThe son . . . put his character onrnthe line to preserve the politicalrnprinciples that civilization hadrncreated.rnSo much more imperative is it now to reflectrnon the life, thought, and characterrnof John C. Calhoun, when the Old Republicrnis virtually beyond rememberingrnin this grim and unheroic age.rnMark G. Mahasi teaches history atrnRandolph-Macon College in Ashland,rnVirginia.rnLIBERAL ARTSrni ^–.: irnMAIL ANDMULTICULTURALISMrnThe vice chairman of the United States Postal Service recently stated that blacks arernover-represented among postal workers in major cities, often at the expense of Latinos.rnTirso del Junco, who is himself Hispanic, said that postal service management in LosrnAngeles, Chicago, and Miami “is driven by blacks—^they must open the doors ofrnopportunity to everyone,” reported the Los Angeles Times last summer.rnfostal Service officials denied del Junco’s accusations and argued that hiring is basedrnon the results of a test open to anyone. ‘The managers do not control the hiring of employeesrn—the register controls it, ” said Charly Amos, the “Postal Service Manager forrnAffirmative Action.”rnNOVEMBER 1994/39rnrnrn