In 1811, John C. Calhoun was elected to Congress, and from that date until his death he served in the federal government. In Congress, he quickly aligned himself with the War Hawks. At this stage of his career he was an ardent nationalist, supporting Henry Clay's American System.
In 1817, Calhoun offered a bill to make improvement in roads and waterways through a subsidy to be derived from the Second Bank of the United States. In a speech on February 4, 1817, he said:
“What can add more to the wealth, the strength, and the political prosperity of our country? The manner in which the facility and cheapness of intercourse added to the wealth of a nation had been so often and ably discussed by writers on political economy, that he [Calhoun speaking about himself] presumed the House to be perfectly acquainted with the subject. It was sufficient to observe that every branch of national industry — agricultural, manufacturing, and commercial — was greatly stimulated and rendered by it more productive.... The bill was promptly passed by both houses of Congress but was vetoed by President Madison on his final day in office.
Calhoun served as secretary of war under James Monroe. In the Election of 1824 Calhoun was elected...