Monday, February 18, 2008

123 of the Day: Presidents Day Edition

For Presidents Day, I bring you a book about my favorite president: John Quincy Adams. While I acknowledge his shortcomings as a political leader, I admire his lifelong commitment to national service and his conduct in the House of Representatives.
The book is Arguing About Slavery: John Quincy Adams and the Great Battle in the United States Congress by William Lee Miller.
Page 123:
Shortly before Calhoun made that speech in the Senate, as we shall see, a South Carolina congressman, Henry Pinckney - not a lodger at Mrs. Lindenberger's - had in fact "broken ranks" and taken a position that from Calhoun's point of view would divide and distract the Southern members exceedingly. Calhoun's remarks in the Senate may be interpreted as directed toward that recalcitrant member of the other house, as well as his fellow senators. But though he certainly did urge that the South stand united with respect to the petitions, the incendiary publications, and the underlying constitutional point - that the national legislature could not touch the subject of slavery - he did not do so (his followers insisted) from any personal motive.
Unfortunately, that 123 sample doesn't give you a taste of John Quincy Adams, but perhaps it is fitting on this day to give thanks that John C. Calhoun was only a vice president, never the real deal.

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