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’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.