He got his facts straight. By the 1830's the South was in deep denial of the founding principles.
Here is the father of anti-Declaration movement, Calhoun.
We have already seen Calhoun, in his speech on the Oregon bill, ridiculing the Declaration of Independence for saying that al l men are created equal. All men are not created. With the exception of Adam and Eve, all human beings come into the world as infants, in a state of entire dependency. Yet Calhoun himself speaks of "man" properly occupying a place "in the scale of beings much above the brute creation." He is then at one with Jefferson in believing that "creation" is represented by a "scale of being." And if "man" as such can occupy that elevated place on that scale, it must be also be the case in principle that "all men" can occupy it. Since the Declaration speaks both of "barbarous ages" and " merciless savages" it is clear that all men do not occupy in fact the place that all occupy in principle. But Calhoun will deny that the equality of man on the scale of creation has the significance assigned to it by Jefferson.
The natural equality proclaimed in the Declaration has as its corollary that legitimate civil society is a voluntary association. The Massachusetts Bill of Rights provides us with this gloss on the doctrine of the Revolution:
The body-politic is formed by a voluntary association of individuals; it is a social compact by which the whole people covenants with each citizen and each citizen with the whole people that all shall be governed by certain laws for the common good.
The reason that the body-politic results from the voluntary agreement of individuals is that
All men are born free and equal, and have certain natural, essential, and unalienable rights; among which may be reckoned the right of enjoying and defending their lives and liberties; that of acquiring, possessing, and protecting property; in fine, that of seeking and obtaining safety and happiness.
Human beings, according to the doctrine of the Revolution, are equally possessed of natural rights. Because of this equality, it is their voluntary agreement that makes them members of a body politic. This voluntary agreement is however an agreement in accordance with reason. Human beings can act voluntarily because they can see--that is, understand--the difference between a body politic within which personal liberty is secure, and property is safe, and a despotic one, in which these conditions are not met, and in which therefore safety and happiness are not possible. Free civil society is in accordance with human nature, despotism is not. Safety and happiness are rational, not random concepts, natural rights are not merely the conditions upon which men enter civil society. They are also the guidelines of constitutionalism--the ever present principles by which the distinction between free and despotic government is preserved. According to Calhoun, however, neither our membership in society, nor society's subjection to government, involves rationality or voluntary action in the slightest degree. In one of the most revealing passages of the Disquisition, he writes that government "is not a matter of choice ... Like breathing, it is not permitted to depend upon our volition .
"Calhoun's denial of natural equality is pro tanto and ipso facto a denial of man's nature as a free and reasonable being. In this, of course, he anticipates the metaphysical determinism of contemporary behavioral science....
When in 1861 eleven southern States attempted to secede from the Union, they did so in obedience to a legal theory that was derived from Calhoun. For the right of secession was nothing more than the sanction for the concurrent majoritarianism they had learned from Calhoun.
That they were exercising this "right" for the sake of a policy of extending chattel slavery--the ultimate denial of minority rights--did not strike them as a paradox, much less as a contradiction. This was because they had been instructed that "the right of a minor party" was never a matter of ratiocination.
For such knowledge there was always a "better guide than reason. But the "better guide than reason" turned out--not surprisingly, given Calhoun's Darwinian presuppositions--to be war.
Calhoun's 1850 prophecy of the coming war in one of his last great Senate speeches is equally remarkable for its clarity of vision and for its blindness. He knew that the south would attempt to withdraw from the Union, if the future of slavery were seriously in jeopardy. And he knew t hat the Union would fight to preserve itself. But he did not see that the Union had an interest in human freedom that was different from its interests in commerce, manufactures, or land. He did not see this because, although a patriot . himself, there was no room in his theory of the human soul for love of country, any more than for love of justice. But then according to his account of the soul in the Disquisition, neither was there room in that same theory for the political science of John C. Calhoun.