John Caldwell Calhoun

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John Caldwell Calhoun
John Caldwell Calhoun
Order: 7th Vice President of the United States of etc.
President: John Q. Adams, Andrew Jackson
Term of office: March 4, 1825 – December 28, 1832
Preceded by: Daniel D. Tompkins
Succeeded by: Martin van Buren
Date of birth: March 18, 1782
Place of birth: Abbeville, South Carolina
Date of death: March 31, 1850
Place of death: Washington D.C.
Second Lady: Floride Bonneau Calhoun
Political party: Pretty much all of them at some point, really

John Caldwell Calhoun (March 18, 1782 - March 31, 1850) was a leading United States Southern politician from South Carolina, famous for being a spokesman for slavery and nullification, and for being one of the creepiest-looking politicians ever. Quite appropriately for a man who looked like his father should have been a werewolf, he managed to orchestrate the Civil War from beyond the grave.

Calhoun began his career as a nationalist, favouring war with Britain in 1812; however, he later changed direction to attack nationalism in favour of letting the individual states do whatever the hell they liked, on the basis that those idiots in Washington shouldn't be able to tell states like Alabama what it could or couldn't do. Despite having died before it formed, Calhoun served as a major icon to those in the Confederate States of America, inspiring a new generation of creepy looking Southern politicians. He was nicknamed the "cast-steel man", for his determination to defend the causes he was supporting at any given time. He was a proponent of the idea of nullification, which said that states could declare void any law they didn't much like the look of, and was also a supporter of slavery, calling it a positive good rather than a necessary evil. The fact that he owned quite a few of them was clearly not influential on his views in any way.

Calhoun spent pretty much all of his career in a variety of high-up government jobs. He spent seven years in the House of Representatives and then, in order to satisfy his inhuman lust for blood, became James Monroe's Secretary of War, and spent several years managing the Indian situation. He then served as Vice-President under John Q. Adams and Andrew Jackson, as Senator for South Carolina and as Secretary of State under John Tyler.

Early life

Calhoun was born in 1782 in The Middle of Nowhere, South Carolina, to Patrick Calhoun, whose only distinction is being sadistic enough to give his son the middle name "Caldwell". Calhoun had an unremarkable early life (much like many people growing up in South Carolina), dropping out of school at fourteen to look after the family farm when his father fell ill. He somehow managed to get into Yale despite having stopped going to school at fourteen, and graduated in 1804. He later attended the Tapping Reeve Law School, named after someone with an even crueller name than him, and became a lawyer in 1807, thus starting his descent into the ranks of the undead. In 1810, Calhoun was elected to Congress; in January 1811, he married his first-cousin-once-removed, Floride Bonneau Calhoun, and proceeded over the next eighteen years to father a string of presumably cruelly-named and almost certainly werewolf-like children.

And the moral of this picture is, until you start endorsing slavery, you don't look too much like a werewolf.

Early political career

Following his election to Congress, Calhoun almost immediately started pushing for the US to go to war with Britain. Eventually, this did happen, and despite the fact that no one really did very well and it didn't really accomplish anything, once it was over Calhoun immediately started to push for the building up of industry, a national bank and numerous internal improvements: all things that would make the country pretty strong and prepared for a future war.

In 1817, sensing a trend in Calhoun's ideas, President Monroe made him Secretary of War, in an attempt to sate his bloodlust. As during his time as Secretary of War America took part in a sum total of zero wars, one would imagine his work to have been rather light - he spent most of his time managing the Native Americans, who had rather slyly decided to settle on US soil several thousand years ago, and bringing centralisation and efficiency to the War Department.

Vice Presidency

Cheating the electoral system

A sketch of Calhoun - not only does he look seriously evil, he also seems to be floating some distance off the ground. Presumably this was done for effect. Well, that or Calhoun devoured the artist just before he finished.

In 1824, Calhoun made the decision to run for president - however, not particularly wanting to run the risk of losing, he pulled out, and somehow managed to end up running as vice-presidential candidate to both of the main candidates. One can only imagine how exactly he managed this, but it goes without saying that it was probably done on the full moon. He won by a landslide, unsurprisingly, since the choices on the ballot paper were presumably "Calhoun", "Calhoun", and "some guy no one's ever heard of".

Vice-President under Adams

His vice-presidency under Adams was understandably quite fraught, given that Calhoun pretty much threw away any possibility that he would be loyal to Adams when he ran for vice-president for the other guy too. The two argued frequently, and in 1828, he won re-election, this time as vice-president to Andrew Jackson.

Vice-President under Jackson

Werewolf! Werewolf! WEEEEREWOLF! etc.

Surprisingly for a man who supported slavery and letting the states do what the hell they wanted, Calhoun's vice-presidency turned out to be slightly controversial. To start with, Jackson was from the West (which counts as the North to Southerners) whereas Calhoun was from the South, and the North and South never got on well at the best of times. Jackson irritated Calhoun in late 1828 by passing the Tariff of 1828 - a tariff which pretty much screwed the South - and Calhoun returned to his home in South Carolina to sulk. No, seriously. While there, he wrote a book on his new political views, which basically explained exactly why Jackson was wrong and he was right.

He came back with a renewed support for the right for the states to do what the hell they wanted, which included their right to go off and sulk if the other states bullied them, and bickered frequently with Jackson about it.

The Nullification Crisis

In 1832, Calhoun got to show his support definitively for nullification, when his home state of South Carolina decided they weren't going to pay certain government tariffs. The government in return passed the Force Bill, allowing the president to use military force to make the states do whatever the hell they were told, and Jackson sent the Navy to Charleston Harbour, SC. South Carolina then decided that they were going to make the Force Bill unconstitutional, as though it was going to make much difference when the US Navy was sitting in their harbour. Eventually, the government and South Carolina came to a compromise - no thanks to Calhoun, whose strong pro-nullification beliefs (along with the fact that the moon wasn't quite full) led him to sit back quietly and watch, and occasionally bitch wittily at Jackson during big dinners. After the crisis had resolved, Calhoun decided to go off and sulk once again, this time going to the extent of becoming a senator in order to do so.

Term as Senator and death

Remember, kids - endorsing slavery may seem like a lot of fun at the time, but eventually the wind changes and you end up like this.

During his seventeen years as Senator for South Carolina (with a brief break in 1844 to be Secretary of State and get very little actually done) Calhoun managed to exhibit pioneering new heights of casual racism and bigotry, leading the pro-slavery faction of the Senate, and arguing slavery was a "positive good", though it was never made quite clear who it was supposed to be a positive good for. Over this period, he eventually got iller, and he eventually died in 1850 in Washington D.C. of tuberculosis. Well, either that, or one of his victims actually fought back. You decide.


Years after his death, sons of former supporters (or zealots, as they liked to be called) discovered his last will and testament, and carried out his wishes by placing a statue of him in Yale's Harkness Tower. Yale was Caldwell's alma mater, and also thought to be his prominent feasting site when on vacations, so those who installed the tower thought it to be a suitable location chosen by Calhoun. Despite this, a second copy of his will surfaced several years later showing a clerical error on the first one. It turned out that the former vice president and senator wanted a statue of him erected in the Tower of Darkness, and gave a series of cryptic directions to a South Carolina cemetery that would eerily glow red every full moon. The discoverers of the first will said to also have found those directions, but passed them off as ramblings of a dying man, since Yale was nowhere near supposed gates to the underworld.

See also

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