Economic Interpretaion (c. A. Beard)
Essay title: Economic Interpretaion (c. A. Beard)
Charles Beards “Economic” Interpretation
In 1913, Charles A. Beard (1913 ) consolidated various scholarly views of the Constitution and, in the process, offered what became identified as “the” economic interpretation of the Constitution. Beard (pp. 16-18) argued that the formation of the Constitution was a conflict based upon competing economic interests – interests of both the proponents and opponents. In his view, the Federalists, the founders who supported a strong, centralized government and favored the Constitution during its drafting and ratification, were individuals whose primary economic interests were tied to personal property. They were mainly merchants, shippers, bankers, speculators, and private and public securities holders, according to Beard (pp. 31-51). The Anti-federalists, the opponents of the Constitution and supporters of a more decentralized government, were individuals whose primary economic interests were tied to real property. Beard (pp. 26-30) contended these opponents consisted primarily of more isolated, less-commercial farmers, who often were also debtors, and northern manorial planters along the Hudson River. However, Beard (pp. 29-30) maintained that many southern slave owning planters, who held much of their wealth in personal property, had much in common with northern merchants and financiers, and should be included as supporters of the Constitution.
Beard (pp. 31-51) claimed that support for his argument could be found