John Caldwell Calhoun (March 18, 1782 - March 31, 1850) was a Southern politician in the United States before the American Civil War. As a Senator from South Carolina and as Vice President of the United States under PresidentsJohn Quincy Adams (1825-1829) and Andrew Jackson (1829-1832), he fought fiercely for the extension of slavery into new territories and other issues of interest to the South such as tariff reform. A supporter of states' rights, he also championed an idea he called Nullification, by which a state government could refuse to comply with a duly passed Federal law it found distasteful, effectively subordinating the Federal government to the states.
He is notable for being one of two US Vice Presidents to resign from office, which he did just over two months before his term expired, to fill a Senate seat. The other resigned VP is Spiro Agnew, Richard Nixon's first VP. He is also the last of only two VPs to serve under two different Presidents, the first being George Clinton who served under Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.
John C. Calhoun died over a decade before the Confederate States were created by the secession of eleven US states in 1860-1861. Nevertheless, the secession of the CS' founding states was considered a direct descendant of his nullification doctrine, and Calhoun was therefore seen as a founding father of the Confederacy along with Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, and even George Washington. His picture appeared on the Confederate dollar bill, for example. Naturally, the U.S. felt differently about Calhoun. For example, US barrel commander Michael Pound once opined that as a Southerner, Calhoun was a son of a bitch by definition.