An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution Beard


This classic suggests that the U.S. Constitution was written by the country’s monied classes and largely serves their interests. It remains an important work not merely for its historical data but because it raises the question of whether representatives need to reflect the class backgrounds of their constituents to represent their interests.
Beard is thefirst to compare the economic backgrounds of elites with their mass counterparts. He argues that the framers of the Constitution were exclusively “merchants, money managers, security holders, manufacturers, shippers, capitalists, financiers, and their professional associates.” Not represented were the small farming classes and the population of debtors.
Furthermore, Beard claims that the framers of the Constitution were conscious of their economic self-interests; the Federalists presented an economic interpretation of politics to defend their work. Their main concerns, according to Beard, were to provide a strong central government and banking system and to protect the propertied classes from tyranny by the majority, by which they meant the poor taking from the rich. Charles A Beard presented seemingly irrefutable proof of the antidemocratic and conservative foundations of American national government in An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution Beard’s thesis was that the politics of the 1780s were dominated by a deep-seated conflict between a popular party based on paper money and agrarian interests, and a conservative party centered in the towns and resting on financial, mercantile, and personalty interests He held that the latter, suffering under the Confederation government and failing to achieve reforms through the prescribed channels in Congress, went outside the existing legal framework to adopt “a revolutionary programme” – the Constitution of 178710 Through the critical studies of Smith and Beard, to name only the most prominent examples, property inte

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