Book Review - James H. Read, 'Majority Rule Versus Consensus: The Political Thought of John C. Calhoun'

5 Pages Posted: 17 Jun 2009  

Colin D. Pearce

Clemson University - College of Business and Behavioral Science

Date Written: June 13, 2009

Abstract

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

Pearce, Colin D., Book Review - James H. Read, 'Majority Rule Versus Consensus: The Political Thought of John C. Calhoun' (June 13, 2009). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1419142 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1419142

Colin D. Pearce (Contact Author)

Clemson University - College of Business and Behavioral Science ( email )

Clemson, SC 29631
United States

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