Motivation in History: Charles Beard and the Founding Fathers Essay
Motivation in History: Charles Beard and the Founding Fathers
Throughout history there are all kinds of historians that describe about our history and how we got to where we are. Charles Beard is a unique historian because he talks about the motives on our history event by not just any event. This issue created a lot of debate on what Charles Beard believed and that is the motives of the Founding Fathers.
Charles Beard published An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States on whether the Constitution’s backers simply concerned for the nation or were they interested in protecting their own material interest. He also describes that questioning the motives of the Constitution’s supporters, it also demonstrated how important our interpretations of the past could be.
The supporters of the Constitution before made the Articles of Confederation. The Article of Confederation was designed for the States to have the power and to have a weak central government, but it produced some problems. Money capital suffered under the Articles of Confederation, the lack of securities for American products and investments into the foreign market. Also under the Article of Confederation the government was not paying the interest on its debt from the war, which crippled the country. He made these arguments to back his thesis on that the supporters of the Constitution was looking for their interest and not entirely the nations interest.
After Charles Beard published this thesis, made a dispute against other historians.
These historians do not believe Charles Beard’s thesis and try to disprove his thoughts and prove that the supports did not write the Constitution for their own interest. In a chart, which shows the Delegates that were at the Constitution Convention. The Delegates on this chart are people having public security holdings, who are people from all different backgrounds. The Delegates mostly signed the Constitution were not all wealthy landowners looking out for them. There was some small farmer in that group, who would never sign the document to benefit the rich. In other chart on the Delegates to the New York State Ratifying Convention shows that there was a mixes of people with different economic status voting for the Ratifying Convention. Also the people who voted were Federal and Anti-Federal that voted Federal, plus lawyers did not vote for it and those would be the kind of people to want the Constitution if it was to benefit the supporters. This chart showing that it was not just the supports interest it was made for the nation because they were different people voting different ways.
The Founding Fathers Debate the Establishment of Congress discusses about the thought of the Delegates, who were at the Convention. Mr. Gerry was one of those men there and he said “The evil we experience flow from the excess of democracy.” Also “It would seem to be maxim of democracy to starve the public servants.” To what Mr. Gerry said and that he left without signing the Constitution and who also had the largest amount of money. All these disprove what Beard was trying to prove in his thesis because if it benefited the supporters won’t he be one to want to sign it.
John Madison said “From the protection of differing and unequal abilities for the acquiring of property, there results the possession of different degrees and kinds of property; and from the influence of these differences there follows a division of society into different interests and parties.” With different interests there cannot be a majority making the Constitution for their own interest. Alexander Hamilton discuses about the needs the government must attend to and under the Article of Confederation would never be possible. He pushes the Constitution that can handle all of its problems and looked for the best interest of the people because it does benefit him just the stability of the country.
I believe that Beard’s thesis on the motives of the Founding Fathers was not entirely correct because it was more than economics. I am impress on his thesis because he does creates support back up his thesis and with just reading his writing it makes you wonder is it possible, which is want he want that to be the reaction of people. The problem is if you are an historian you could not just read his writing, you must research other source and reading other primary sources the Beard’s thesis died out.
Beard thesis is a step to understand our past; with this the historians stimulate others to research better and so on. That was one of Beard’s goals but it backfired and took his thesis out of believing it was possible. This is a way of life and that it is the right of the Constitution to have been able to disprove peoples work and improve to understand our past.