An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States

Author: Charles A. Beard
Publisher: Courier Corporation
ISBN: 048643365X
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This famous study — one of the most influential in the area of American economic history — brought a halt to Americans' uncritical reverence for their country's revolutionary past. Questioning the Founding Fathers' motivations in drafting the Constitution, it viewed the results as a product of economic self-interest. Perhaps the most controversial books of its time.

President Roosevelt and the Coming of the War 1941

Author: Charles Beard
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1351496905
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Conceived by Charles Beard as a sequel to his provocative study of American Foreign Policy in the Making, 1932-1940, President Roosevelt and the Coming of the War outraged a nation, permanently damaging Beard's status as America's most influential historian.Beard's main argument is that both Democratic and Republican leaders, but Roosevelt above all, worked quietly in 1940 and 1941 to insinuate the United States into the Second World War. Basing his work on available congressional records and administrative reports, Beard concludes that FDR's image as a neutral, peace-loving leader was a smokescreen, behind which he planned for war against Germany and Japan even well before the attack on Pearl Harbor.Beard contends that the distinction between aiding allies in Europe like Great Britain and maintaining strict neutrality with respect to nations like Germany and Japan was untenable. Beard does not argue that all nations were alike, or that some did and others did not merit American support, but rather that Roosevelt chose to aid Great Britain secretly and unconstitutionally rather than making the case to the American public. President Roosevelt shifted from a policy of neutrality to one of armed intervention, but he did so without surrendering the appearance, the fiction of neutrality. This core argument makes the work no less explosive in 2003 than it was when first issued in 1948.

Charles Beard and the Constitution

Author: Robert Eldon Brown
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 1400876923
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"One could almost use the word momentous, or the word epoch-making though epoch-ending might be more to the point ... I don't see how anyone henceforth can repeat the old cliches which Beard put into circulation forty years ago."—Frederick B. Tolles, Swarthmore College. “American historians, particularly those who have given lectures or written books based on the Beard thesis, ignore Brown’s book at their peril.”—American Historical Review. Originally published in 1956. The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback and hardcover editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

We the People

Author: Forrest McDonald
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1351299638
Format: PDF, Kindle
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Charles A. Bear's An Economic Interpretation of the United States Constitution was a work of such powerful persuasiveness as to alter the course of American historiography. No historian who followed in studying the making of the Constitution was entirely free from Beard's radical interpretation of the document as serving the economic interests of the Framers as members of the propertied class. Forrest McDonald's We the People was the first major challenge to Beard's thesis. This superbly researched and documented volume restored the Constitution as the work of principled and prudential men. It did much to invalidate the crude economic determinism that had become endemic in the writing of American history. We the People fills in the details that Beard had overlooked in his fragmentary book. MacDonald's work is based on an exhaustive comparative examination of the economic biographies of the 55 members of the Constitutional Convention and the 1,750 members of the state ratifying conventions. His conclusion is that on the basis of evidence, Beard's economic interpretation does not hold. McDonald demonstrates conclusively that the interplay of conditioning or determining factors at work in the making of the Constitution was extremely complex and cannot be rendered intelligible in terms of any single system of interpretation. McDonald's classic work, while never denying economic motivation as a factor, also demonstrates how the rich cultural and political mosaic of the colonies was an independent and dominant factor in the decision making that led to the first new nation. In its pluralistic approach to economic factors and analytic richness, We the People is both a major work of American history and a significant document in the history of ideas. It continues to be an essential volume for historians, political scientists, economists, and American studies specialists.

Unruly Americans and the Origins of the Constitution

Author: Woody Holton
Publisher: Hill and Wang
ISBN: 9781429923668
Format: PDF, Kindle
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Average Americans Were the True Framers of the Constitution Woody Holton upends what we think we know of the Constitution's origins by telling the history of the average Americans who challenged the framers of the Constitution and forced on them the revisions that produced the document we now venerate. The framers who gathered in Philadelphia in 1787 were determined to reverse America's post–Revolutionary War slide into democracy. They believed too many middling Americans exercised too much influence over state and national policies. That the framers were only partially successful in curtailing citizen rights is due to the reaction, sometimes violent, of unruly average Americans. If not to protect civil liberties and the freedom of the people, what motivated the framers? In Unruly Americans and the Origins of the Constitution, Holton provides the startling discovery that the primary purpose of the Constitution was, simply put, to make America more attractive to investment. And the linchpin to that endeavor was taking power away from the states and ultimately away from the people. In an eye-opening interpretation of the Constitution, Holton captures how the same class of Americans that produced Shays's Rebellion in Massachusetts (and rebellions in damn near every other state) produced the Constitution we now revere. Unruly Americans and the Origins of the Constitution is a 2007 National Book Award Finalist for Nonfiction.

To Form A More Perfect Union

Author: Robert A. McGuire
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780195349931
Format: PDF, Kindle
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Many important questions regarding the creation and adoption of the United States Constitution remain unresolved. Did slaveholdings or financial holdings significantly influence our Founding Fathers' stance on particular clauses or rules contained in the Constitution? Was there a division of support for the Constitution related to religious beliefs or ethnicity? Were founders from less commercial areas more likely to oppose the Constitution? To Form a More Perfect Union successfully answers these questions and offers an economic explanation for the behavior of our Founding Fathers during the nation's constitutional founding. In 1913, American historian Charles A. Beard controversially argued in his book An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States that the framers and ratifiers of the Constitution were less interested in furthering democratic principles than in advancing specific economic and financial interests. Beard's thesis eventually emerged as the standard historical interpretation and remained so until the 1950s. Since then, many constitutional and historical scholars have questioned an economic interpretation of the Constitution as being too narrow or too calculating, believing the great principles and political philosophies that motivated the Founding Fathers to be worthier subjects of study. In this meticulously researched reexamination of the drafting and ratification of our nation's Constitution, Robert McGuire argues that Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, George Mason and the other Founding Fathers did act as much for economic motives as for abstract ideals. To Form a More Perfect Union offers compelling evidence showing that the economic, financial, and other interests of the founders can account for the specific design and adoption of our Constitution. This is the first book to provide modern evidence that substantiates many of the overall conclusions found in Charles Beard's An Economic Interpretation while challenging and overturning other of Beard's specific findings. To Form a More Perfect Union presents an entirely new approach to the study of the shaping of the U.S. Constitution. Through the application of economic thinking and rigorous statistical techniques, as well as the processing of vast amounts of data on the economic interests and personal characteristics of the Founding Fathers, McGuire convincingly demonstrates that an economic interpretation of the Constitution is valid. Radically challenging the prevailing views of most historians, political scientists, and legal scholars, To Form a More Perfect Union provides a wealth of new findings about the Founding Fathers' constitutional choices and sheds new light on the motivations behind the design and adoption of the United States Constitution.

The Continental System

Author: Eli F. Heckscher
Publisher: Cosimo, Inc.
ISBN: 1602060266
Format: PDF, Docs
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Working amidst the global economic turmoil of World War I and the blockade of his neutral homeland, Swedish economist and historian ELI FILIP HECKSCHER (1879-1952) produced this provocative and widely influential analysis of European commercial conflict from the late 17th century through the early 19th century: . What was the impact of the British blockade of France in the 1790s? . How did the national debt and credit system of Britain affect its monetary warfare? . What part did the British colonies in America and later the new United States play in the European economic conflict? . What was done with confiscated goods? . How did smuggling and corruption in the early 1800s change the balance of power? This interpretation of the centuries-long economic clash between Britain, France, and their allies, first published 1922, remains an intriguing work of history today.