In 1825, at a critical juncture when secessionism was slowly gaining momentum in the United States, the office of Vice President was assumed by John Caldwell Calhoun, a leading advocate of states' rights, limited government, nullification and free trade.
The Accidental Presidency of John C. CalhounAlthough he was a vigorous man who liked to exercise, the incoming President John Quincey Adams was suffering from symptons associated with the advanced stages of atherosclerosis.
Only months after the inauguration, he suffered a paralytic stroke. He recovered the full use of his body and returned to the White House the following year. But he collapsed on the floor of the Oval Office from another stroke. He was carried to the Executive Residence, where two days later he died.
This tragic demise forced the Presidency into the hands of perhaps the foremost states' right advocate of the day. Nicknamed the "cast-iron man" for his ideological rigidity as well as for his determination to defend the causes he believed in, Calhoun supported states' rights and nullification, under which states could declare null and void federal laws which they viewed unconstitutional. He was an outspoken proponent of the institution of slavery, which he defended as a "positive good" rather than as a "necessary evil".
This post is a variant ending to the article Calhoun Captured by Eric Lipps.