Leaders in the States' Rights Debate

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John Caldwell Calhoun was born the 4th child, and 3rd son, of Patrick and Martha Calhoun on March 18, 1782 in the backwoods of Abbeville, South Carolina. His father got really sick when he was just 17 years old. He was forced to quit school and work on the family farm. Eventually though with help from his brothers, he returned to school. He graduated with a degree from Yale College, Phi Beta Kappa, in 1804. After studying law at the Tapping Reeve Law School in Litchfield, Connecticut, he was admitted to the South Carolina bar in 1807. Calhoun married Floride Bonneau Calhoun, a first cousin once removed in January 1811. They had 16 children in 18 years. Three of the children died at birth. He settled his family in Pendleton, South Carolina, on a plantation that they named Fort Hill. He split his attention between his 3 loves politics, farming, and family. Although he did not have much, if any at all, charisma or charm, Calhoun was brilliant at public speaking and kept everything very organized, and after his election to Congress in 1808 he immediately became a leader of the "war hawks." He became a State Representative in 1808 and in 1811 was elected United States Representative until 1817. From there he served as Secretary of War for President Monroe until 1825. Things heated up in the early 1830s over federal tariffs: Calhoun said that states could veto federal laws, earning him the nickname of "Arch Nullifier," and Jackson threatened to use the army if South Carolina forced the issue. Calhoun than resigned as Jackson’s vice president, this was in 1832. He than became a U.S. senator, then briefly served as Secretary of State under President Tyler from 1844-1849. Finally he served in the Senate again until his death in 1850.

Henry Clay was born to the Reverend John and Elizabeth Hudson Clay on April 12, 1777. He was the 7th of 9 children for his proud parents. He was born and raised in a half frame, 2 story house at the Clay homestead in Hanover County,...
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