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John C. Calhoun: A Featured Biography

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In addition to 15 years as a U.S. senator, John C. Calhoun of South Carolina  served as president of the Senate (vice president of the U.S.). He was a key figure in the Senate's Golden Age, a period in Senate history marked by heated debates over slavery and territorial expansion. A staunch defender of the institution of slavery, Calhoun was the Senate's most prominent states' rights advocate, and his doctrine of nullification professed that individual states had a right to reject federal policies that they deemed unconstitutional. When a 1957 Senate committee announced that Calhoun had been selected as one of the Famous Five, chairman John F. Kennedy praised Calhoun for being a "forceful logician of state sovereignty."