At my age one begins to wonder about what you did well and where you went wrong in a long life.
I have never been to Atlantic City, Pittsburg, Cleveland, Detroit, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, or Las Vegas. I have had to endure Boston, Miami, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle only once. On the downside, I have been to New York and Washington way too many times, though always at the call of duty.
And I have seen a good deal of England, Scotland, France, Spain, and Italy - the last in the company of the lovely and gifted webmistress of Reckonin.
I have never been to a “professional” (i.e., commercial) sporting event.
I have never been to a rock concert. However, I did get to see Brother Dave Gardner and Hank Williams Jr. live. On the latter occasion I was so naïve that somebody had to explain to me what that funny scent in the air was. And I’ll add Joan Baez, for whatever it’s worth.
I have been privileged to know some outstanding people who have enriched me immeasurably. I mention only those who are no longer with us: Mel Bradford, Tom Landess, Russell Kirk, Murray Rothbard, Joel Williamson, Eugene Genovese, Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, Matt Bruccolli, Jim Meriwether. I can’t claim any friendship, but at least I have had in-person conversation with George Garrett, Cleanth Brooks, and Pat Buchanan.
I have been very fortunate indeed. Let’s not discuss where I went wrong.
It was originally said that the state heritage preservation act did not
apply to the Calhoun monument because it was designed to protect only
soldiers' monuments. A new suit has been launched against the vandals of
the Columbia city government to include Calhoun in the protected persons.
Clyde Wilson, along with others submitted a sworn statement to support the
COMES NOW, Clyde Wilson, first duly sworn, who deposes and states as follows:
I was awarded the Ph.D by the University of North Carolina in 1971. I was a member of the faculty of the History Department of the University of South Carolina-Columba for 34 years, retiring as Distinguished Professor. Among other activities I was the primary editor of The Papers of John C. Calhoun, a documentary editing and publication project which ran from the 1950s to 2005, when I published the 28th and final volume. These 28 volumes included the letters, speeches, and writings of Calhoun as completely as possible.
In the 1950s the National Historical Publications and Records Commission recommended documentary publication projects for select early American leaders---Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Jackson, Clay, Webster, and John C. Calhoun. The University of South Carolina undertook the project for Calhoun and continued to support the project to its end, as did the NHPRC. The South Carolina Department of Archives and History also provided support. Scholarly reviewers wrote of the quality and importance of The Papers of John C. Calhoun.
In 1959 a U.S. Congressional committee chaired by future President John F. Kennedy named Calhoun as one of the 5 most important Senators in American history. Kennedy included a complimentary comment on Calhoun in his book, Profiles in Courage (1956). In 1951 the Pulitzer Prize for Biography was awarded to Margaret Coit’s sympathetic book, John C. Calhoun: American Portrait.
In a long-term and international perspective, Calhoun’s importance in history is great. He is the most important person ever produced by South Carolina. He held most of the high offices of the federal government, legislative and administrative, for 40 years, 1811—1850. Beyond this, Calhoun is one of the very few political leaders who has been recognized as one of the most important political philosophers in U.S. history. His “A Disquisition on Government” is still studied and praised worldwide today. British, Italian, and Japanese scholars have written about him, among others.
Even if we discount all else, Calhoun’s role in American military history justifies a memorial. In regard to both war and peacetime defense his role was very important and one must say almost heroic. He first came to public attention protesting against the U.S. government’s lack of response to highhanded British interference with American ships, stopping them on the high seas and seizing sailors into their own Navy. Response was necessary both for national honor and defense of our citizens. This stand caused his neighbors to send him to the U.S. House of Representatives in his twenties.
In his first speech in the House, against the opponents of action, he was called “one of those masters spirits who stamp their image on the age in which they live.” He drafted the declaration of war for the House. For Calhoun his responsibility was only beginning. In legislation and debate he played a foremost role during the war. He was called “the young Hercules who carried the war on his shoulders.”
The most important aspect of Calhoun’s role in the military is his eight year service as Secretary of War from age 35 to 42. The War Department was the largest and most far-flung part of the government. It ended the war in organizational and financial chaos, inefficiency, and the need to reduce it to peacetime size. President Monroe had offered the position to several prominent men who turned it down. It required a lot of hard work with little likelihood to enhance prestige. But Calhoun, feeling a responsibility for the effects of the war and for national defense, took on what was regarded as an impossible and thankless job.
His service as Secretary of War (covered in volumes 2—9 of The Papers of John C. Calhoun) is generally regarded as the most outstanding of any man in earlier American history. There is no question that he built a force that greatly aided the victories of the U.S. army in the Mexican War and the Civil War.
Calhoun reorganized Army administration into a system of bureaus---commissary, quartermaster, ordnance, engineers, medical, and others, placed the ablest officers in charge and required accountability from them. This system was copied in Europe.
He planned and saw built the system of Atlantic and Gulf coastal defenses that remained important up to at least World War I. The prestige and importance of West Point dates from this period. Calhoun raised entrance requirements and put the best officers in charge. The institution not only provided military skill and knowledge but was long the best college in the U.S. for engineering and administrative training.
Calhoun’s goal in these reforms was to provide a small peacetime army that was quickly expandable in case of need. Able officers and organization could mobilize the eager American volunteers who would appear to support a just cause. Most West Point men served a few years in the army and then went into private engineering and industry, a great help to building up the country.
His service of Secretary of War was so outstanding that both John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson, who agreed on nothing else, accepted Calhoun as Vice President in 1824.
In 1844 President Tyler appointed Calhoun Secretary of State. During one year he negotiated a peaceful settlement of the contentious Oregon Territory issues, establishing the U.S./Canadian boundary where it has remained. He also undertook negotiations that would guarantee that Texas would join the Union as a State.
On the Mexican War Calhoun’s mature statesmanship provides perhaps much wisdom for future generations. While supporting and praising the Army, he sat silent in the vote on a declaration of war. He believed that President Polk had brought on war by provoking an unnecessary border incident. This was a very bad precedent. A state of war came into existence without a Congressional declaration. He also warned against imperialism—taking over foreign peoples and governments.
This was bound to destroy republican freedom.
I am a year older than Mitch McConnell but am a lot smarter (as well as better-looking). Same goes for Joe Biden, now and always.
The U.S. now has two holidays for African Americans (one of them fraudulent) and only one for the founders of the country.
What I have noticed recently in streaming television shows (mostly intelligent European ones): ads for HIV drugs showing gloriously happy sodomites. I have also noticed that in every show, in the first 5-10 minutes, there will invariably appear an admirable black person, no matter how irrelevant to the country or the plot. This is nearly universal for recent shows in European countries. In one Iceland police series, white supremacists were being evil to an African immigrant. Happy sodomite couples also invariably appear in almost every series as an everyday matter. Is somebody trying to tell us something?
The great Wendell Berry teaches a lesson for us in these degraded and threatening times on the difference between optimism and hope. Optimism is merely a program, hope is a Christian duty.
Just before the War for Southern Independence, the great William Gilmore Simms wrote: “The virtues of a people depend very much on the incorruptible integrity of language.” In this light consider the current babblings of our politicians, advertisers, bureaucrats, college presidents, leading clergyman, “experts.” The old idea of integrity - that you should say what you mean and mean what you say - has disappeared from American discourse. It is worth reminding ourselves who is “the Father of Lies,” the first corruptor of language.
In his nonfiction speeches and essays Faulkner made a similar point. What he was hearing in America was not words but rather “mouth sounds.”
Speaking of Faulkner, he said his favourite things were horses, trees, and silence. While I am not remotely on the same level and have never been fortunate enough to deal with horses, I got the other two right
Clyde Wilson is a distinguished Professor Emeritus of History at the University of South Carolina He is the author or editor of over thirty books and published over 600 articles, essays and reviews