1811-1837, U.S. House of Representatives – John C. Calhoun


This U.S. House of Representative John C. Calhoun history mug is one of a collection of US Governance biographical mugs.  An image of John C. Calhoun and a short biography are features of this history mug.

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John C. Calhoun hailed from South Carolina and served in the U.S. House and Senate.  He was the seventh vice president under John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson.  He also held the positions of secretary of war and secretary of state.  He was said to be an elegant speaker who was a strong proponent of slavery.  He is credited with escalating threats of secession in the South as abolitionist sentiment grew in the North. John C. Calhoun had the nickname “cast-iron man” for his rigid ideology.  He was a strong supporter of states’ rights and believed in nullification, where states could declare null and void federal laws they viewed as unconstitutional.  Calhoun argued that a state had the right to secede, thirty years before the Civil War.

The House of Representatives and Senate comprise the legislative branch of the U.S. government.  Representatives, elected from congressional districts, are allocated to states based on population measured by the U.S. Census.  The number of Representatives is set by law at 435.  The House is charged with the passage of federal legislation, known as bills, which after concurrence by the Senate, are sent to the president for consideration.  The House has the power to initiate all bills related to revenue and the impeachment of federal officers.

John C. Calhoun was a member of the U.S. House Representatives prior to his election as vice president.  Many of the men who become president and vice president first served in Congress as members of the House of Representatives or in the U.S. Senate.  A number of these individuals first served in their state government as governor, state senator or in their state House of Representatives.

The biographical History Mugs were created to teach and inspire individuals to learn about our diverse and interesting history.  The biographies were researched and written by history enthusiast, Robert Compton.  He colorized most of the historic photos and images used on the mugs, which were originally black and white or sepia tone.  The images and biographies are imprinted on mugs at his studio in rural Vermont.

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