Our Debt to Charles Beard

by Antonius J. Patrick

(Editor’s Note: The writer is exactly correct about secession and any subsequent constitution for any newly seceded nation. Unless a new nation turns entirely away from the US Constitution as its template for a new constitution, it will merely repeat the mistakes of the past. That is why the Editor has invented an entirely new system of governance. Check the Category “FRONA” and read all about it.)

This year marks the 100th anniversary of one of the most important books ever written in American historiography, An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States by Charles Beard (1874-1948). Although Beard’s thesis has been challenged by succeeding generations of scholars, the work remains a landmark which changed forever the course of United States constitutional and early national studies.

Charles Beard

Charles Beard

Charles Beard’s importance is significant for another reason which is now little spoken of within academic circles except to smear the historian. Beard was one of the leading intellectual figures of World War II revisionism and an outspoken “isolationist” of the 1930s who did not want to see America insanely plunge itself into another European conflagration. In a series of articles, essays and books throughout the 1930s and 40s, Beard criticized and opposed the Roosevelt Administration’s hell-bent drive for war. His work culminated in the masterpiece, President Roosevelt and the Coming of the War, 1941, which left little doubt that Roosevelt orchestrated and manipulated events that would guarantee the United States’ entry into the Second World War.

Beard’s work and friendship had a significant impact on the “father of modern revisionism,” Harry Elmer Barnes. Barnes dedicated his superb volume of World War II essays, Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace, to Beard who had originally coined the phrase and suggested it to Barnes during their last conversation.

An Economic Interpretation was the first scholarly study of the 20th century that showed that the much celebrated “founding fathers” were not solely interested in making a more “perfect union” as the Establishment history books so often like to tell. Instead, they created a government that would serve their financial interests as Beard insightfully wrote: “Not one member [of the Constitutional Convention] represented the small farming or mechanic classes. The overwhelming majority of members were, to a greater or less extent, economic beneficiaries from the adoption of the Constitution.”

Beard carved the path for future scholars to take a far more critical approach of the document and its proponents’ motives. The results of these studies, in part, showed that not only did the founders use a number of underhanded and frankly illegal tactics to achieve their end, but their long neglected opponents – the Anti-federalists – had the sounder arguments in their objections to the Constitution.

Beard was roundly criticized for his thesis within academia and by politicians including a President, all of which led to his decision to leave his teaching position at Columbia University. The historian would be smeared again and far more viciously for his gallant stand against U.S. intervention in World War II.

The book should be a staple among the intellectual armor of the growing secessionist movement which should realize that before any real political decentralization can occur, the ideological battle must be first won. The federal government has grown to unimaginable proportions and the document which laid the groundwork for this monstrosity must be demystified. There is no better place to start than with Charles Beard.

To those who seek a reversal of America’s crazed foreign policy of constant intervention, Beard’s works should also be consulted. For he showed that the American empire with all its nasty elements – deficits, death, destruction, ruinous taxation – was built on a myth and created by those who sought their own aggrandizement at the expense of the lives, liberties and treasure of their countrymen.

Charles Beard continues to inspire all those who, like the great historian, question the ruling orthodoxy of the day. While his scholarly work should be studied, it was his personal fortitude and commitment to the truth as he saw it that makes him one to emulate. As those who seek to rid the modern world of historical falsehoods and myths, Charles Beard’s life and work should not be forgotten.

Antonius J. Patrick is a Washington, D.C.-based writer who reports on culture- and religion-related issues for American Free Press.

About RussLongcore

I am an old-school Entrepreneur blazing trails in the new Internet marketing world. I am a professional writer and Marketing Consultant, specializing in a revolutionary Customer Rewards program designed specifically for small business. We actually pay merchants to promote their own business with our product. Promote more, get paid more. Nothing worse in business than to sell something that people want but don't need. Because when a person's budget gets squeezed, the discretionary purchase get dropped. Life-essential services makes my business recession proof. I am in a nationwide talent search for Senior Sales Professionals, Business Owners and Entrepreneurs that would also like a recession-proof business. I hope you will take the time to at least LOOK at our businesses at www.CashBackApps.net. And in my spare time, I write here at DumpDC.com about secession issues while I invent a new nation, the Mythical Free Republic Of North America (FRONA).
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4 Responses to Our Debt to Charles Beard

  1. mattis kantor says:

    Anyone who imagined that the USA could sit out a century or two of coast to coast fascism (Atlantic side of Europe, to the Pacific side of the Far East) can hardly be called a historian. (Disclosure: My best selling book is a 5,000 year chronicle of Jewish history, Title: Codex Judaica.)

    For what is the value of history, sans the lessons from the past.

    England was teetering on the very brink, Continental Europe was a fortress of occupation, Russia was fascism in communist clothing, and neither Japan nor China were any less ruthless in their tyranny. As for South America, Churchill once said “Brazil has a great future, and it always will.” They (who later provided comfortable refuge to Nazi big-wigs), and our northern brethren, were hardly the sturdy partners one would need, to build Fortress America. Norway to Nova Scotia, is hardly a deterring distance. Not after a few years consolidating power and manufacture in a wholly unified German Europe.

    FDR played it right in only this, of the three major issues he had to deal with. The economic recovery was hindered by his policies, and in fact it was war machine that resurrected it. (One could be ultra-cynical and surmise that, that was a significant part of the strategy.) His refusal to bomb the railroad tracks, that he knew were transporting as many as 10,000 living human beings a day, to the gas chambers and the furnaces, lays bare a significant aspect of his personality. (Calling Stalin “Uncle Joe” could very well have been a corollary of that streak in his nature.)

    • RussLongcore says:

      Rabbi Kantor- I contend that to say the Depression was ended by the war is to embrace the oft-told but discredited “broken window” theory of economics. Creating durable goods empowers a nation. Creating bullets, bombs and fighter planes that are meant to get destroyed is like shooting starting fluid into a carburetor. Makes it run fast for a little while, then it peters out. What saved America post-war what the fact that Europe lay in ruins and the America economy was the only one left standing. So America became the manufacturer for the world instead of suffering a post-war depression like everybody else.

      Despite your bona fides, I remain unconvinced that the USA needed to be in either WWI or WWII. And I do not call myself a historian. And now the USA has coast-to-coast Fascism. Turned out well, don’t you think? Who is going to liberate America? Thanks for your contribution, Russ

      • dc.sunsets says:

        Russ, the central questions are these:
        1. Who won World War 2?
        2. Is modern social democracy an improvement over the monarch smashed by Wilson’s war?

        The answer to the first is easy: Stalin, the greatest mass murderer in human history at that point (Mao may or may not have exceeded Stalin’s body count, of course.)
        It’s fairly obvious that in the absence of US intervention, Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s USSR would have obliterated each other, leaving millions of Eastern Europeans out of Stalin’s mass-muderous embrace and perhaps short-stopped communism’s rise.
        The answer to the second question comes from professor Hans Hermann Hoppe’s irrefutable discussion of the defects of democratic systems where rulers behave like renters and hold only positive incentives to exploit their “resource” without regard to the future.

        Economic Historian Robert Higgs has demolished the notion that WW2 ended the Great Depression here:
        You may be familiar with it.

        In the larger sense, few people have the imagination to envision what the world would be like absent critical choices made in the past (e.g., adopting the 1787 constitution, fighting a war to prevent Southern secession, establishing the US central bank or direct election of US senators.) All of these developments augmented the drive to the US empire and today’s greatest-in-history buildup of debt and weapons of truly mass destruction, the outcomes of which remain to be seen.

    • kunkmiester says:

      The war didn’t really end the depression. As soon as it was over and gov spending ramped down, they were threatened with similar levels of unemployment. The thing that changed? Top marginal tax rate dropped from something like 99% to 70 or some such. THEN the market took over and the fifties broke out.

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