Charles Beard’s article, Framing the Constitution, alleges the members of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia were “disinterested” in providing basic rights for citizens. He stated that the framers of the Constitution of the United States were only concerned in improving their own economic well–being and personal agendas. Therefore, providing information of the events that led up to the Philadelphia Convention and an overview of the Constitution will dismiss his statements, and state his article was a self-serving, conspiracy theory.
The Articles of Confederation of 1781 produced the first endeavor of government structure. This attempt of forming a national and state government failed. Some of the issues that transpired from the constitution include: Each state only had one vote in Congress, regardless of state size; Congress did not have the powers to tax or regulate foreign or interstate commerce; There was not a recognized national court system or executive branch to enforce acts passed by Congress; While amendments to the Constitution required a unanimous vote, the passing of a law required a 9/13 vote.
The lack of involvement of the national government allowed states to become self-governing and sovereign. States printed their own money that only had value within that territory which created a hindrance in trade and in turn produced an unstable economy. The national government having no enforcing authority and the United States of America was in a state of chaos. This generated an out lash from individuals. The most recognized revolt is the Shays’ Rebellion.
This was the result of the determination of the Massachusetts Legislature to pay off the state’s war debt through an aggressive taxation policy despite the hard times.
The government insisted that people pay their taxes in hard money rather than in goods or paper currency made a bad situation worse (Kaufman). The outrage was recognized by the delegates and led to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia.
In 1787, framers of the Constitution acknowledged that there were issues with the Articles of Confederation that needed addressed thus, the delegates of the states were assembled. While examining the Constitution, it was concluded a new document was imperative for the welfare of the nation. There were seven Articles established in the Constitution of the United States. The first three Articles dealt with the separation of powers. A three branch, federal government was formed along with checks and balances.
This format promoted the equalization of power among each entity. The Fourth Article outlined the relationship between the states and the federal government. The Fifth Article pertains to the amending of the Constitution. The Sixth Article states that the laws of states and the nation should not conflict. And the Seventh Article declared that this was the Constitution of the United States. The Constitution provided a system of government that acknowledged the needs of each state, person, and the nation as a whole.
Beard claimed that the minorities were not represented in the new Constitution but amendment fifteen provided protection against the majority. Along with the formation of the Electoral College which allowed the minority to be heard his claim can be dismissed. His claim that the delegates were only interested in their economic growth can be rejected. While each of the framers was successful in their own rights, they each had the foresight and knowledge to create a successful document that represented the welfare and rights of each individual person.
An unequal distribution of property and wealth is inevitable. For a nation to flourish, classes within a society are a necessity. The United States Constitution provides the venue for each person to have the capability to become wealthy, successful, and to become a representative of their own believes. The Constitution of the United States has stood the test of time, and in its entirety provides the protection of rights, which allows each individual to pursue any endeavor they desire within the law. Read about strengths and weaknesses of the three branches of government
Today’s government officials are educated, knowledgeable, and wealthy individuals that are elected to represent their constituent’s ideas as well as fulfilling their own agendas. Beard’s theory was brought forth for the soul purpose of gaining recognition as a theorist and his claims can be dismissed by recognizing the success of a document that has held a nation together for centuries. Beard produced an article full of propaganda that incited peoples’ fears which established him as a theorist.