Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Roy N. Robbins


John Caldwell Calhoun's Secretaryship of War has not loomed large in the ever-growing Calhoun bibliography. Calhoun was a many-faceted political giant in American history, but his book-length biographers have failed to capture his first venture in executive leadership. Early biographers have treated his secretaryship only as a background to the Presidential election of 1824. Twentieth-century biographers have hardly done better. Arthur Styron covers his War Department tenure in three page; Gaillard Hunt does it in four pages. Margaret L. Coit, who received the Pulitzer Prize for her Calhoun biography, discusses this period in sixteen pages and fails to go beyond generalities. Charles N. Wiltse's three volume treatise covers the same period in fourteen chapters but emphasizes the Secretaryship in approximately four chapters aggregating about fifty pages. Gerald M. Capers recent interpretive reappraisal of Calhoun comprehends the period in thirty pages, half of which stress the election of 1824. Other Calhoun writings are proportionately scanty about his War Department years.


A Thesis Presented to the Department of History and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska at Omaha In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts. Copyright 1971, Ronald L. Johnson

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