Beard Thesis Of The Constitution

Beard Thesis Of The Constitution-57
The Constitution was not created by “the whole people” as the jurists have said; neither was it created by “the states” as Southern nullifiers long contended; but it was the work of a consolidated group whose interests knew no state boundaries and were truly national in their scope.The first step in getting Americans to disregard the Constitution is to get them to distrust the men who wrote it. The Constitution, professors suggested to their students, was not a document worthy of special respect.The Constitution was essentially an economic document based upon as recognizing the claim of property to a special and defensive position in the Constitution.

The Constitution was not created by “the whole people” as the jurists have said; neither was it created by “the states” as Southern nullifiers long contended; but it was the work of a consolidated group whose interests knew no state boundaries and were truly national in their scope.The first step in getting Americans to disregard the Constitution is to get them to distrust the men who wrote it. The Constitution, professors suggested to their students, was not a document worthy of special respect.The Constitution was essentially an economic document based upon as recognizing the claim of property to a special and defensive position in the Constitution.

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Those who are creditors, and those who are debtors, fall under a like discrimination, A landed interest, a manufacturing interest, a mercantile interest, a moneyed interest, with many lesser interests, grow up of necessity in civilized nations and divide them into different classes, actuated by different sentiments and views.

The regulation of these various and interfering interests forms the principal task of modern legislation, and involves the spirit and party of faction in the necessary and ordinary operations of the government.” Here we have a masterly statement of the theory of economic determinism in politics.

CONCLUSIONSThe movement for the Constitution of the United states was originated and carried through principally by four groups of personalty interests which had been adversely affected under the Articles of Confederation: money, public securities, manufactures, and trade and shipping: The first firm steps toward the formation of the Constitution were taken by a small and active group of men immediately interested through their personal possessions in the outcome of their labors.

No popular vote was taken directly or indirectly on the proposition to call the Convention which drafted the Constitution.

A large propertyless mass was, under the prevailing suffrage qualifications, excluded at the outset from participation (through representatives) in the work of framing the Constitution.

The members of the Philadelphia Convention which drafted the Constitution were, with a few exceptions, immediately, directly, and personally interested in, and derived economic advantages from, the establishment of the new system.Further than this, economic interpretation cannot go.It may be that some larger world process is working through each series of historical events; but ultimate causes lie beyond our horizon.Thus, according to Beard, the constitutional convention in Philadelphia in 1787 was promoted by “a small and active group of men immediately interested through their personal possessions in the outcome of their labors. During the 1950s, historian Forrest Mc Donald did a more thorough study of the Founders and discovered what can most generously be described as errors in research and, less generously, as fraudulent research. Each state had to vote on ratifying the Constitution, and Beard offered evidence that “the leaders who supported the Constitution in the ratifying conventions represented the same economic groups as the members of the Philadelphia convention.” The Founders, Beard conceded, did not write the Constitution merely to make money, but nonetheless, “The Constitution was essentially an economic document.” Beard’s thesis, seemingly well researched, was presented in a tentative way, but it soon swept the historical profession and became gospel in college classrooms by the 1920s.The leaders who supported the Constitution in the ratifying conventions represented the same economic groups as the members of the Philadelphia Convention; and in a large number of instances they were also directly and personally interested in the outcome of their efforts.In the ratification, it became manifest that the line of cleavage for and against the Constitution was between substantial personalty interests on the one hand and the small farming and debtor interests on the other.This assault on the Founders, subtle at first, began in earnest almost 100 years ago. It was a product of self-interest that should be interpreted loosely and changed as the Progressives saw fit.The first historian to challenge the motives of the Founders was Charles Beard in (1913). The constitutional separation of powers, for example, according to Woodrow Wilson—a friend of Beard’s and a fellow Ph. in history—was a “grievous mistake” by the Founders.It may likewise be shown, to take an extreme case, that the English nation derived immense advantages from the Norman Conquest and the orderly administrative processes which were introduced, as it undoubtedly did; nevertheless, it does not follow that the vague thing known as “justice” was the immediate, guiding purpose of the leaders in either of these great historic changes.The point is, that the direct, impelling motive in both cases was the economic advantages which the beneficiaries expected would accrue to themselves first, from their action.

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