Discuss the ideas in Framing the Constitution by Charles A Beard
2 Answers | Add Yours
Beard argued that the Framers of the Constitution were interested more in furthering their own economic interests than in creating a truly representative government. If anything, he argues, the government they created was anti-democratic, formed with the interests of holders of securities in mind, not those of the people as a whole. Many of the Framers did, in fact, stand to benefit from the establishment of a government that could raise revenue to finance its own debt, but subsequent generations of historians have pointed to a number of flaws in his argument, especially the selective use of sources to make his case. However, Beard's (actually the Beards', since his wife Mary collaborated with him on many of his works) view of the Constitution as a fundamentally conservative, even anti-democratic document is accepted, at least on some level, by most modern historians.
I would say that most modern historians believe that Beard went too far. Beard looks at the Framers and argues that they were acting as they did for selfish reasons. But it is possible to act in a way that promotes the interests of your class but is not selfish. If you truly believe that a system that helps your class will help everyone else as well, you are not being selfish. Most historians today would argue that this is what the Framers were doing and I tend to agree with them.
Join to answer this question
Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.Join eNotes