Beard-Economic Interpretation of US Constitution(expose of richboys constitution)(196
This is Charles A. Beard's highly controversial book An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of The United States (1965) which contends that the Founding Fathers included a clear strategy for Colonial economics in the writing of the Constitution and that it was the product of economic self-interest rather than some altruistic political philosophy. 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. Beard's original thesis from 1913 remains that the forming of the US Constitution was an effort by the economic well-to-do of the newly formed American social class to establish a government that would protect their interests and raise the value of the government's obligations in their possessions. Beard's goal is simply to re-establish the idea of the aforementioned economic interests as the primary and not secondary cause of the U. S. Constitution. Through a topical analysis of interests, that seem contrary to the work of his historical mentors, Beard weaves his interpretation of the economic history. Throughout his book he consistantly refers to his work as fragmentary, but it appears extensively researched through primary documents such as the Federalist Papers, early Treasury Department records, and Madison's convension notes. Beard does an excellent job in presenting all necessary facts for the reader to follow his argument. Little, if any information is left to the supposition of the reader. The author was a courageous man, not afraid to say the truth, not afraid to look into reality of American life and see the abuse of power, the denial of justice, and the real social interests at stake. His book establishes the real context of the constitution, displacing the usual hero worship of the "founders" as demigods and showing them as real men who served their class interests. Beard situates the constitutional convention in the great social struggles that went on in the period after the achievement of independence. Without such an understanding the struggle over the adoption of the constitution, and the role of the Bill of Rights are simply not understandable. Post independence America was a place of economic crisis for the farmers, workers, and small tradesmen who had been the bulwark of the revolutionary struggle. Monetarization of economic exchange in villages and towns where a large amount of the exchange had been based on barter, a massive inflation, and a growth of the power of the banks and other money lenders spread like a plague, particularly in the Northern States, especially New England. Farmers were losing their land; tradesmen were losing their shops; goods not made on the farms and villages became too expensive for many working people and farmers. The power of the state governments, squarely in the hands of the merchants and planters, stood behind the seizure of the lands of farmers who could no longer pay the banks and merchants. Desperate farmers and their supporters shut down courts that met to authorize confiscation of farms. With no Bill of Rights, in Massachusetts set up kangaroo courts made up of merchants and bankers that made no attempt to be fair to the farmers. Newspapers and speakers who criticized the state government and the banks and big merchants were charged with treason. It was these threats to property that threatened the power of the wealthy and the order that had been established after the revolution. This is why the constitutional convention gathered, not some abstract interest in more ethereal and philosophical forms of government. Whatever is said about divine motivations, the constitutional convention which gathered the wealthy and powerful, would have had to have been a bunch of insane dreamers, not to have had the interests of their wealth and power first in their minds in this situation. This Beard shows with abundant documentation as he documents that this was by and large a gathering of the wealthy men of the country who had profited from the revolution and who had profited by the economic disaster farmers and tradesmen faced by buying up certificates for land in compensation for services to the revolution, many farmers and tradesmen had to sell in order to keep their own land. Beard indicates that the concern for a secure state that could safeguard these interests was the dominant question for constitutional convention. He also notes that the few delegates who were sympathetic to the popular struggle opposed the constitution. Others among the leaders of the American Revolution who opposed this trend stayed away. Beard's book has been pilloried because it challenges the public myth about the constitution and the government that is needed to maintain the continued rule of the wealthy and powerful. The constitutional convention did not write a democratic constitution. There is no provision for national elections. There are only provisions for the state legislatures to select electors that would meet to select the president in what the constitutional convention thought would be another gathering of the wealthy and powerful. The Bill of Rights was not part of the constitution they wrote or proposed. This was not an oversight, but because the authors of the constitution did not support these rights or democracy as it is understood today. Most people in the United States opposed the constitution that came out of the Philadelphia convention. Many cited as "founders" opposed it. The bill of rights was proposed as a compromise addition to safeguard the rights of the popular majority. Without it, the constitution would not have passed. Even so, many provisions of the Bill of Rights were not actively enforced, some until the 20th Century. Popular voting without property, religious, or other qualifications was not even insured in this constitution. This came only with the amendments others that followed the Civil War, which Beard famously termed The Second American Revolution. Economic Interpretation of Constitution of US exposes the myths that are propagated in the interests of the billionaires who run America and have done so since its very beginning. 345 pages. A must read for everyone.