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Patrick Henry-Onslow Debate

Liberty and Republicanism in American Political Thought

by H. Lee Cheek Jr. Editor · Sean R. Busick Editor

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The disputed election of 1824 was one of the most important presidential elections in American history. After an indecisive electoral college vote, the House of Representatives selected John Quincy Adams as president over the more popular war hero, Andrew Jackson. As a result, John C. Calhoun ended up serving as vice-president under Adams. Neither man was comfortable in this situation as they were political rivals who held philosophically divergent views of American constitutional governance. The emerging personal and philosophical dispute between President Adams and Vice-President Calhoun eventually prompted the two men (and Adams's political supporters) to take up their pens, using the pseudonyms "Patrick Henry" and "Onslow," in a public debate over the nature of power and liberty in a constitutional republic. The great debate thus arrayed Calhoun's Jeffersonian republican vision of constitutionally restrained power and local autonomy against Adams's neo-Federalist republican vision which called for the positive use of inherent power—a view that would become increasingly compelling to future generations of Americans. In the course of this exchange some of the most salient issues within American politics and liberty are debated, including the nature of political order, democracy, and the diffusion of political power. The level of erudition and insight is remarkable. The "Patrick Henry"/"Onslow" Debate deserves a wider popular and scholarly audience.

Publication Details

Publisher:
Lexington Books
Publication Date:
2013

Format

  • Kindle Book
  • OverDrive Read
  • Adobe PDF eBook 3.9 MB
  • Adobe EPUB eBook 3.4 MB

H. Lee Cheek Jr. (Editor)

H. Lee Cheek, Jr. is chair of the Social Science Division and professor of political science at East Georgia State College, and a senior fellow of the Alexander Hamilton Institute. His books include Calhoun and Popular Rule and Order and Legitimac...

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Patrick Henry-Onslow Debate
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