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by James H. Read
Download Majority Rule versus Consensus: The Political Thought of John C. Calhoun (American Political Thought) fb2
Americas
  • Author:
    James H. Read
  • ISBN:
    0700616357
  • ISBN13:
    978-0700616350
  • Genre:
  • Publisher:
    University Press of Kansas (February 5, 2009)
  • Pages:
    288 pages
  • Subcategory:
    Americas
  • Language:
  • FB2 format
    1398 kb
  • ePUB format
    1744 kb
  • DJVU format
    1785 kb
  • Rating:
    4.6
  • Votes:
    879
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Essential reading for all serious students of American political thought. Provides a lucid analysis of the political philosophy and constitutional theories of a key historical figure.

Essential reading for all serious students of American political thought. Invaluable for anyone with an interest in constitutional history or antebellum thought. -Daniel Farber, author of Lincoln’s Constitution. Very well done-a first-rate piece of work. -Michael P. Zuckert, author of The Natural Rights Republic.

Majority Rule Versus Consensus book. figure in American political thought. Majority Rule Versus Consensus: The Political Thought of John C. Calhoun (American Political Thought). The staunchest advocate of the consensus model of government as an alternative to majority rule, he proposed government not by one, by few, or by many, but by all: each key group enjoying veto rights over collective decisions.

American Political Thought. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2009. John C. Calhoun remains a pivotal, complicated figure in the political history of the Old South. Read argues throughout the book that while Calhoun presented the consensus model simply as a form of government, it cannot be separated from the defense of slavery and the evolving sectional conflict. Calhoun believed the consensus model would produce a more thoughtful, deliberative government that would legislate more completely for the common good.

James Read’s important book Majority Rule versus Consensus attacks Calhoun’s theory on almost every point. But Read finds Calhoun’s defense of state sovereignty unconvincing. He begins by comparing Calhoun’s writings on nullification with Jefferson’s writings and Madison’s attack on nullification in the 1830s. Jefferson and Madison served as powerful authorities for Calhoun.

Read is also seen as exposing Calhoun's contemporary influence via the views of President Clinton's nominee Lani Guinier whom he sees as essentailly espousing Calhounian principles.

Keywords: majority rule, Calhoun, political thought, James, Rule versus Consensus, John, Read.

book by James H. Read. Calhoun may be best known for his stature in the . Senate and his controversial defense of slavery, but he is also a key figure in American political thought.

Recommend this journal.

Majority Rule versus Consensus: The Political Thought of John C. Calhoun. University Press of Kansas, 2009. Doorstep Democracy: Face to Face Politics in the Heartland. University of Minnesota Press, 2008. Power versus Liberty: Madison, Hamilton, Wilson and Jefferson. University of Virginia Press, 2000. The Journal of Politics. Vol. 65, No. 1 (February 2003), 291-93.

John C. Calhoun may be best known for his stature in the U.S. Senate and his controversial defense of slavery, but he is also a key figure in American political thought. The staunchest advocate of the consensus model of government as an alternative to majority rule, he proposed government not by one, by few, or by many, but by all: each key group enjoying veto rights over collective decisions.Some consider consensus preferable to majority rule in deeply divided societies, and consensus theory has been advocated in such contemporary works as Lani Guinier's The Tyranny of the Majority. James Read's book, the first historically informed, theoretically sophisticated critique of Calhoun's political thought, goes beyond other studies to ask key questions about the feasibility of consensus. Read critically examines Calhoun's arguments, considering both their antebellum context—including Calhoun's spirited defense of slavery—and modern-day attempts to apply consensus models in Northern Ireland, the former Yugoslavia, and South Africa. Read sheds new light on the crisis leading up to the Civil War by exploring Calhoun's conviction that his uncompromising defense of slavery would help preserve the Union. He also juxtaposes Calhoun's thought with that of Jefferson and Madison, whose legacies Calhoun invoked to support his claim that states had the right to nullify federal law, and he contrasts Madison's ultimate faith in majority rule with Calhoun's ultimate rejection of it.Read argues that, although Calhoun's critique of majority rule deserves careful attention, his remedy is unworkable and in the end unjust. Read demonstrates that governments ruled by consensus tend to be ineffective, that they are better at preventing common action than achieving common goods, and that they privilege strategically placed minorities rather than producing genuine consensus.Majority Rule versus Consensus is a provocative work that sheds new light on the promise and limitations of democracy, showing that, despite the failure of Calhoun's remedy, his diagnosis of the potential injustice of majority rule must be taken seriously. It discourages uncritical celebrations of democracy in favor of reflection on how committed democrats can better address the problems that Calhoun attempted to solve.