We the People: The Economic Origins of the Constitution (Google eBook)

Front Cover
Transaction Publishers, Jan 1, 1991 - History - 436 pages
1 Review

Charles A. Bear's An Economic Interpretation of the United States Constitution was a work of such powerful persuasiveness as to alter the course of American historiography. No historian who followed in studying the making of the Constitution was entirely free from Beard's radical interpretation of the document as serving the economic interests of the Framers as members of the propertied class. Forrest McDonald's We the People was the first major challenge to Beard's thesis. This superbly researched and documented volume restored the Constitution as the work of principled and prudential men. It did much to invalidate the crude economic determinism that had become endemic in the writing of American history.

We the People fills in the details that Beard had overlooked in his fragmentary book. MacDonald's work is based on an exhaustive comparative examination of the economic biographies of the 55 members of the Constitutional Convention and the 1,750 members of the state ratifying conventions. His conclusion is that on the basis of evidence, Beard's economic interpretation does not hold. McDonald demonstrates conclusively that the interplay of conditioning or determining factors at work in the making of the Constitution was extremely complex and cannot be rendered intelligible in terms of any single system of interpretation.

McDonald's classic work, while never denying economic motivation as a factor, also demonstrates how the rich cultural and political mosaic of the colonies was an independent and dominant factor in the decision making that led to the first new nation. In its pluralistic approach to economic factors and analytic richness, We the People is both a major work of American history and a significant document in the history of ideas. It continues to be an essential volume for historians, political scientists, economists, and American studies specialists.

  

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Review: We the People: The Economic Origins of the Constitution

User Review  - Steven Peterson - Goodreads

One of the major works critiquing Charles Beard's "An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution." What makes McDonald's work so welcome is his use of hard data. He pointed out that some major ... Read full review

Review: We the People: The Economic Origins of the Constitution

User Review  - Craig J. - Goodreads

We the People : The Economic Origins of the Constitution (Library of Conservative Thought) by Forrest McDonald (1991) Read full review

Contents

Chapter One charles a beards pioneer inter
3
Chapter Two political factions and geograph
21
Chapter Three economic interests of the
38
Chapter Four economic interests and
93
Chapter Five IN STATES GENERALLY FAVORABLE
113
Chapter Six IN STATES DIVIDED ON THE CONSTI
163
Chapter Seven IN STATES GENERALLY OPPOSED
255
Chapter Eight a revaluation of the beard the
349
Chapter Nine economic interest groups
358
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