Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

John Caldwell Calhoun

Vice President of the U.S. under John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson, Senator and House of Representatives

"If the government should be taught that the highest wisdom of a state is a wise and masterly inactivity, an invaluable blessing will be conferred."

"People do not understand liberty or majorities. The will of the majority is the will of a rabble. Democracy is leveling - this is inconsistent with true liberty."

"A power has risen up in the government greater than the people themselves, consisting of many and various and powerful interests, combined into one mass, and held together by the cohesive power of the vast surplus in the banks. "

"Beware the wrath of a patient adversary. "

"It is harder to preserve than to obtain liberty. "

"The Government of the absolute majority instead of the Government of the people is but the Government of the strongest interests; and when not efficiently checked, it is the most tyrannical and oppressive that can be devised. "

"The surrender of life is nothing to sinking down into acknowledgment of inferiority. "

"I never use the word "nation" in speaking of the United States. I always use the word "Union" or "Confederacy." We are not a nation but a union, a confederacy of equal and sovereign States."

"The very essence of a free government consists in considering offices as public trusts, bestowed for the good of the country, and not for the benefit of an individual or a party."