Southerners had come generally to regard their section of the
country as a distinct social unit. The next step was inevitable.
The South began to regard itself as a separate political unit.
It is the distinction of Calhoun that he showed himself toward
the end sufficiently flexible to become the exponent of this new
political impulse. With all his earlier fire he encouraged the
Southerners to withdraw from the so-called national parties, Whig
and Democratic, to establish instead a single Southern party, and
to formulate, by means of popular conventions, a single concerted
policy for the entire South.
At that time such a policy was still regarded, from the Southern
point of view, as a radical idea. In 1851, a battle was fought
at the polls between the two Southern ideas--the old one which
upheld separate state independence, and the new one which
virtually acknowledged Southern nationality. The issue at stake
was the acceptance or the rejection of a compromise which could
bring no permanent settlement