John Caldwell Calhoun

JOHN CALDWELL CALHOUN was born in Abbeville district, South Carolina, on 18 March 1772; studied under his brother-in-law, Dr. Moses Waddel, at Carmel Academy, Columbia County, Georgia; graduated from Yale College in 1804; studied law at Judge Tapping Reeve’s school in Litchfield, Connecticut, and continued his study at Charleston, South Carolina, in the office of Henry W. De Saussure; opened practice at Abbeville in 1807 but gave it up for plantation life; was elected to the South Carolina legislature in 1808 for two terms; married Floride Bouneau Calhoun in 1811; served in the U.S. House of Representatives, 1811–1817; joined the "war hawks" in recommending a declaration of war against England, 1812; served as Secretary of War, 8 October 1817–7 March 1825; established the Army’s bureau system and formalized the lines of authority between staff and line; advocated an expansible regular Army in lieu of dependence upon militia; created the position of Commanding General of the Army; established the Artillery School of Practice, the Army’s first postgraduate school; authorized and instituted reforms at West Point; was Vice President of the United States under John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson; resigned in a dispute with Jackson over states’ rights and nullification; served in the U.S. Senate from South Carolina, 1832–1843; became a leading spokesman for slavery and states’ rights; served as Secretary of State, 1843–1845; served as South Carolina delegate and presiding officer of a rail and waterway convention at Memphis, Tennessee, 1845; was again a U.S. senator from South Carolina, 1845–1850; died in Washington, D.C., on 31 March 1850.

The Artist

John Wesley Jarvis (1780–1840), portrait and miniature painter, engraver, and sculptor, was born in England. His family came to America about 1785, where he was apprenticed to engraver Edward Savage in Philadelphia. He began painting portraits in his early twenties, established a studio in New York City where Henry Inman and John Quidor studied, and became the foremost portrait painter in New York until he was paralyzed in 1834. Secretary Belknap found his portrait of Calhoun at West Point and gathered it into the secretarial collection. Several of his other portraits served as models for artists who contributed to the Army gallery.


Portrait, John Caldwell Calhoun

Monroe Administration
By John Wesley Jarvis
Oil on canvas, 29˝" x 24˝", date unknown


page created 1 March 2001

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