Beard, Charles Austin (West's Encyclopedia of American Law)
Few academicians achieve the public recognition and professional respect accorded to historian Charles Austin Beard. His polemic An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States stirred debate among fellow scholars and the U.S. public by contradicting the popular understanding of how and why the United States was founded. A brilliant, original thinker, Beard achieved a unique prominence among twentieth-century historians and political scientists.
Beard was born to well-to-do parents in Knightstown, Indiana, on November 27, 1874. After graduating from Indiana's DePauw University in 1898, he sailed to England to attend
the University of Oxford. While at Oxford, he helped establish Ruskin Hall, a college for British working men that represented to Beard the liberation of the English masses from upperclass domination. In Beard's mind, Ruskin Hall was a symbol and precursor of the true political democracy that would be ushered in by the industrial revolution.
In 1900 Beard returned briefly to the United States to marry Mary Ritter. An intellectual in her own right, Mary Ritter Beard became an invaluable critic and...
(The entire section is 663 words.)
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