A South Carolina man has a beautiful eight-volume set of Edward Gibbon’s famous History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire that he acquired inexpensively at a local library sale in Edgefield, South Carolina.
Dated 1789, these early volumes of the History are inscribed with the signature of John C. Calhoun. Could these possibly be the books of the famed 19th-century political giant and intellectual architect of the Confederacy?
Along with Daniel Webster of Massachusetts and Henry Clay of Kentucky, Calhoun was part of The Great Triumvirate of statesmen who set the terms of debate on the most challenging issues of their time, including banking, state’s rights, westward expansion, and slavery.
History Detectives heads to South Carolina to dig deep into these books to learn more about their possible original owner and shed light on the thinking of one of the most powerful politicians in 19th-century America.
- Related Investigation Face Jug What does this ceramic face reveal about the Middle Passage and a captive people’s search for identity?
- Related Investigation Lincoln Letter Does this cryptic letter reveal Abraham Lincoln's secret strategy for winning political power?
- Also in Civil War: 1850-1877 Old Fire Station Did President Ulysses S. Grant stop by a New Jersey firehouse on the centennial of America?
- Also in Season 4 McKinley Casket Flag Did this flag once drape the casket of President William McKinley?
- Also in Civil War: 1850-1877 Civil War Letters What can these letters reveal about a racially-charged massacre on a Civil War battlefield?
- Also in Season 4 Coca Cola Trade Card Could this card be a unique piece of early Coca-Cola advertising?
This is a place for opinions, comments, questions and discussion; a place where viewers of History Detectives can express their points of view and connect with others who value history. We ask that posters be polite and respectful of all opinions. History Detectives reserves the right to delete comments that don’t conform to this conduct. We will not respond to every post, but will do our best to answer specific questions, or address an error.