Attributed to Charles Bird King (1785–1862))
Oil on canvas, c. 1823
Of all the War Hawks, John C. Calhoun of South Carolina most eloquently put forward the argument that a “second struggle for our liberty” was not only necessary, but positive for the country. As head of the Foreign Relations Committee, Calhoun believed that another war was needed to reinvigorate the country and create a new generation of patriots. He wrote, “The war will be a favorite one with the country. Much honor awaits those who may distinguish themselves.”
Mismanagement by the War Department throughout the war frustrated Calhoun, and as secretary of war, he would later overhaul the department, making vast improvements for the future of the military. Calhoun is the only vice president to serve under different presidents—John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson. He resigned under Jackson to return to the Senate, where he became a champion of states’ rights and nullification.