Book Review - James H. Read, 'Majority Rule Versus Consensus: The Political Thought of John C. Calhoun'
5 Pages Posted: 17 Jun 2009
Date Written: June 13, 2009
This review considers James H. Read's analysis of the political and constitutional thought of John C. Calhoun. It describes how Read links the thought of Calhoun to contemporary times by explaining how Arend Lijphart's concept of 'Consociational Democracy' is basically Calhounian in nature and how this 'updated' version of Calhounianism has exercised an influence around the world. 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. The review shows how Read concludes that we could do much worse in this day and age than to pay serious attention to the details of Calhoun's political philosophy. Read draws this conclusion given the significance of Calhoun's unique concept of freedom, his 'skepticism' about the ease with which democratic institutions can be made to work, and his belief that at bottom the only real solution to the problem of democracy lies in wise political leadership.
Keywords: Calhoun, constitution, consensus, jury, Federalism, freedom, union
JEL Classification: H10,H11,H77,N31,N41,N91,Y30
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation