- The Constitution: Was It An Economic Document? | AMERICAN HERITAGE
- The Constitution
- Robert A. McGuire, University of Akron
- Charles Beard Thesis Apush
For the weakest link in the Beard interpretation is precisely the crucial one—the document itself. What he does not make clear is how or where the Constitution itself reflects all these economic influences. Beard, An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution. Much is made of the contract clause and the paper money clause of the Constitution. No state may impair the obligations of a contract—whatever those words mean, and they apparently did not mean to the framers quite what Chief Justice Marshall later said they meant in Fletcher v.
Peck or Dartmouth College v. No state may emit bills of credit or make anything but gold and silver coin legal tender in payment of debts. These are formidable prohibitions, and clearly reflect the impatience of men of property with the malpractices of the states during the Confederation. Yet quite aside from what the states may or may not have done, who can doubt that these limitations upon the states followed a sound principle—the principle that control of coinage and money belonged to the central, not the local governments, and the principle that local jurisdictions should not be able to modify or overthrow contracts recognized throughout the Union?
What is most interesting in this connection is what is so often overlooked: that the framers did not write any comparable prohibitions upon the United States government. The United States was not forbidden to impair the obligation of its contracts, not at least in the Constitution as it came from the hands of its property-conscious framers. Possibly the Fifth Amendment may have squinted toward such a prohibition; we need not determine that now, for the Fifth Amendment was added by the states after the Constitution had been ratified.
So, too, the emission of bills of credit and the making other than gold and silver legal tender were limitations on the states, but not on the national government. There was, in fact, a lively debate over the question of limiting the authority of the national government in the matter of bills of credit. Nor were there other specific limitations of an economic character upon the powers of the new government that was being erected on the ruins of the old. The framers properly gave the Congress power to regulate commerce with foreign nations and among the states.
The term commerce—as Hamilton and Adair and Crosskey, too! The framers gave Congress the power to levy taxes and, again, wrote no limitations into the Constitution except as to the apportionment of direct taxes; it remained for the most conservative of Courts to reverse itself, and common sense, and discover that the framers had intended to forbid an income tax!
Those who delight to find narrow and undemocratic sentiments in the breasts of the framers never cease to quote a Gouverneur Morris or an Elbridge Gerry on the dangers of the West, and it is possible to compile a horrid catalogue of such statements. But what is significant is not what framers said, but what they did. They did not place any limits upon the disposition of western territory, or establish any barriers against the admission of western states.
It will be argued, however, that what the framers feared was the states , and that the specific prohibitions against state action, together with the broad transfer of economic powers from state to nation, were deemed sufficient guarantee against state attacks upon property. As for the national government, care was taken to make that sufficiently aristocratic, sufficiently the representative of the propertied classes, and sufficiently checked and limited so that it would not threaten basic property interests.
It is at this juncture that the familiar principle of limitation on governmental authority commands our attention. Granted the wisest distribution of powers among governments, what guarantee was there that power would be properly exercised? What guarantees were there against the abuse of power? What assurance was there that the large states would not ride roughshod over the small, that majorities would not crush minorities or minorities abuse majorities?
What protection was there against mobs, demagogues, dangerous combinations of interests or of states? What protection was there for the commercial interest, the planter interest, the slave interest, the securities interests, the land speculator interests?
It was Madison who most clearly saw the real character of this problem and who formulated its solution. They understood, too, the drive for power on the part of individuals and groups. All this is familiar to students of The Federalist , No. It should be familiar to students of the debates in Philadelphia, for there, too, Madison set forth his theory and supported it with a wealth of argument.
This was the only defence against the inconveniences of democracy consistent with the democratic form of Government [our italics]. In all cases where a majority are united by a common interest or passion, the rights of the minority are in danger. What is the remedy?
This long quotation is wonderfully eloquent of the attitude of the most sagacious of the framers. They feared power whether exercised by a monarch, an aristocracy, an army, or a majority, and they were one in their determination to write into fundamental law limitations on the arbitrary exercise of that power. To assume, as Beard so commonly does, that the fear of the misuse of power by majorities was either peculiar to the Federalists or more ardent with them than with their opponents, is mistaken.
The framers, to be sure, feared the powers of the majority, as they feared all power unless controlled. But they were insistent that, in the last analysis, there must be government by majority; even conservatives like Morris and Hamilton made this clear. Listen to Hamilton, for example, at the very close of the Convention.
But we need not rely upon what men said; there is too much of making history by quotation anyway. Let us look rather at what men did. We can turn again to the Constitution itself. Granted the elaborate system of checks and balances: the separation of powers, the bicameral legislature, the executive veto, and so forth—checks found in the state constitutions as well, and in our own democratic era as in the earlier one—what provision did the framers make against majority tyranny? They granted equality of representation in the Senate.
If this meant that conservative Delaware would have the same representation in the upper chamber as democratic Pennsylvania, it also meant that democratic Rhode Island would have the same representation as conservative South Carolina. But the decision for equality of representation was not dictated by considerations either economic or democratic, but rather by the recalcitrance of the small states.
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Indeed, though it is difficult to generalize here, on the whole it is true that it was the more ardent Federalists who favored proportional representation in both houses. They elaborated a most complicated method of electing a Chief Executive, a method designed to prevent the easy expression of any majority will. Again the explanation is not simple. The fact was that the framers did not envision the possibility of direct votes for presidential candidates which would not conform to state lines and interests and thus lead to dissension and confusion.
Some method, they thought, must be designated to overcome the force of state prejudices or merely of parochialism and get an election; the method they anticipated was a preliminary elimination contest by the electoral college and then eventual election by the House. This, said George Mason, was what would occur nineteen times out of twenty. Burr and J.
Adams vs. Clay, Jackson, and Crawford Senators and Presidents, then, would not be the creatures of democracy. Most states had property qualifications for office holding, but there are none in the Federal Constitution. As far as the Constitution is concerned, the President, congressmen, and Supreme Court justices can all be paupers. Franklin rebuked him. What of the members of the lower house?
The Constitution: Was It An Economic Document? | AMERICAN HERITAGE
It was to be the grand depository of the democratic principle of the Govt. A further observation is unhappily relevant today. But the framers put into the Constitution no limits on the number of terms which Presidents or congressmen could serve. It was not that the question was ignored; it received elaborate attention. It was rather that the generation that wrote the Constitution was better grounded in political principles than is our own; that it did not confuse, as we so often do, quantitative and qualitative limitations; and that—in a curious way—it had more confidence in the intelligence and the good will of the people than we seem to have today.
It is, in any event, our own generation that has the dubious distinction of writing into the Constitution the first quantitative limitation on the right of the majority to choose their President. It is not the generation of the framers that was undemocratic; it is our generation that is undemocratic. It is relevant to note, too, that the Constitution contains no property qualification for voting. Most states, to be sure, had such qualifications—in general a freehold or its equivalent—and the Constitution assimilated such qualifications as states might establish.
Yet the framers, whether for reasons practical or philosophical we need not determine, made no serious efforts to write any property qualifications for voting into the Constitution itself. The question of popular control came up clearly in one other connection as well: the matter of ratification. Should the Constitution be ratified by state legislatures, or by conventions? The practical arguments for the two methods were nicely balanced.
The decisive argument was not, however, one of expediency but of principle. Madison put the matter on principle, too. Was the Constitution designed to place private property beyond the reach of majorities? If so, the framers did a very bad job. They failed to write into it the most elementary safeguards for property. They failed to write into it limitations on the tax power, or prohibitions against the abuse of the money power. They failed to provide for rule by those whom Adams was later to call the wise and the rich and the wellborn. What they did succeed in doing was to create a system of checks and balances and adjustments and accommodations that would effectively prevent the suppression of most minorities by majorities.
They took advantage of the complexity, the diversity, the pluralism, of American society and economy to encourage a balance of interests. As federal civil servants supporting the Department of Defense, we have a special obligation to understand and appreciate the U.
Here are your two options: 1. Two versions of the Preamble to the Constitution, The government was able to regulate trade. Constitution definition, the system of fundamental principles according to which a nation, state, corporation, or the like, is governed. The Constitution, as it was adopted in , stated that senators would be elected by state legislatures.
Federalists, now acting as strict constructions, demands word by word We hope your visit has been a productive one. The amendment was proposed by the Congress on December 9, , and was ratified by the requisite three-fourths of state APUSH question 18th century? In eighteenth century Europe, the leading principles were autocracy, patriarchy, mercantilism, arranged marriages, legal privilege, and established churches.
But what I went through in my Freshman global studies class ignited a fire inside me. The Zinn Education Project has delivered time and time again the most impactful experiences for my students. Directions- Read all the documents answer all the questions and the essay on loose-leaf. Everybody is bound to it. Ferguson in , by declaring that state laws that established separate public schools for black and white students denied black children equal educational opportunities.
See more. Still good to test your knowledge of factual information! The House also called for a Continental Congress to adopt a U. Constitution gave the federal government more power and allowed them to effectively levy tariffs. History Crossword Puzzle Chapter 9: The Confederation and the Constitution This crossword puzzle features 31 people, events, and terms from Chapter 9 of the very popular American Pageant textbook. This general idea has attracted a remarkably rich and at times contrary range of interpretations, including: that all philosophical concepts should be tested via scientific experimentation, that a claim is true if and only if it is useful relatedly: if a Brinkley Chapter 6: The Constitution and New Republic.
Practice your skills in this quiz on the Constitution. Constitution, early American government, and the controversy over the drafting of the Constitution. The course has students investigate the content of U. The state constitutions had some glaring limitations, particularly by more recent standards. We've invited the American Constitution Society and the Federalist Society to nominate scholars to discuss every clause of the Constitution, exploring areas of.
Because of arguments over if the slaves would count towards the general population of the state, the "three-fifths compromise" was created. Constitutional Convention Compromises The Constitutional Convention May 25, Delegates from 9 of the 13 states came to the convention. Although this can seem overwhelming, there are tips you can use to successfully navigate these new questions. The Continental Congress asked people to write constitutions during the revolution because they wanted power to rest directly in the people's hands. The new Constitution also called for a President.
This is a list of key areas of disagreement between supporters and The United States Constitution was designed to secure the natural rights proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence. These assignments will prepare you for our learning during the year, and will allow us to The Mississippi Constitution of Ch 4 Imperial War and Colonial Protest pg. Lincoln Douglas , This was England's prevailing economic philosophy of the s that held that colonies existed to serve the mother country. Complete the Constitution Webquest Packet as you journey on your quest.
Examine the Constitution ratified during the Convention, studying what this document achieved and what made it novel and historically significant.
Articles of Confederation. Laws were passed and they had to be followed. The first Constitution of the U.
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He is also known as the "Father of the Constitution". Goenen in room before school is out for the summer On the first day of class, you must bring the following assignments, which should be completed in a satisfactory manner. This is a resource intended to further understanding of topics, to collaborate on projects when allowed to , and as a peer-review board for all things APUSH. It is super simple and makes a huge difference in the cost of the AP exam for you. Ratifying the Constitution. The amendment is the constitutional law empowering the government to levy income taxes on Americans.
The Constitution created checks and balances. With very little time to accomplish its mission, delegates of Convention of wrote and adopted the Texas Declaration of Independence, prepared a Constitution for the newly formed Republic, and organized an an interim government.
Constitution and the role we each play in providing 'for the common defense'. Hutchison was out last Friday and was without internet access over the weekend, so apologies for the lack of a blog post at that time. What principles would replace those societal rules in America's new republican society? The 16th Amendment allows Congress to tariff an income tax without basing it on population or dividing it up among the states.
Feel confident about your Revolutionary War knowledge? This left column is widget ready! Add one in the admin panel. Skip to content. He went to school and studied Latin, Greek, science, philosophy, and other subjects. Early Battles Pt. On-Line Test Preparation. He was born on March 16, , in Port Conway, Virginia.
Articles of Confederation and Constitution. As a bonus, site members have access to a banner-ad-free version of the site, with print-friendly pages. Slavery was a part of rape and murder but blacks provided a different reading of the constitution and to America, an asylum of APUSH Tuesday, October 12, Jefferson went from being a strict follower of the constitution to taking a loose interpretation of the constitution when he The right to due process of law and equal protection of the law now applied to both the Federal and state governments.
This is a yearly application; thus, families must fill this out every year. The Pennsylvania Constitution of ratified September 28, was the state's first constitution following their declaration of independence and has been described as the most democratic in America; although it notably based rights in "men" not in "persons," as contemporaneous constitutions did in neighboring areas such as New Jersey, and as the English Bill of Rights and U. Its one of the oldest Constitutions in the world.
The Articles established a loose confederation of largely independent states with limited powers vested in the central government. Please feel free to explore the links below and check out the additional resources provided at the bottom of this page for more information on how to tackle the APUSH Exam, by improving your skills or gaining a frame of reference. Constitution is known as a "bundle of compromises"; here are the key areas where each side had to give ground.
Homework Page; Select Category. You can complete it still. Constitution was ratified as a new plan of government. Study hard! After a farewell banquet, delegates swiftly returned to their homes to organize support, most for but some against the proposed charter. Each state would have 2 senators. Historical Context: Today, over years after it was written ad ratified approved , most Americans think of the US Constitution as something almost sacred.
The U. Intro to SAQ. These actions were accomplished amid almost daily reports of the invasion on Texas soil by Mexico, and the By Jesse Schultz On the surface the 7th President of the United States seems ready made for the mantle of hero.
Robert A. McGuire, University of Akron
Constitution: Direct Election of U. Read Chapter 9 in the American Pageant. Delaware was the first to ratify the document, and within eight months, eight of the nine states required to launch the new government had ratified the document. How to Amend the Constitution. You could not unaccompanied going similar to ebook amassing or library or borrowing from your contacts to contact them.
The constitution does not account for all of the peoples possible interests because they need to make sure that they are doing the best for the states as a whole, not just individuals. The terms of the President and Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January, and the terms of Senators and Representatives at noon on the 3d day of January, of the years in which such terms would have ended if this article had not been ratified; and the terms of their successors shall then begin.
Quickly memorize the terms, phrases and much more. It has the features of a written constitution, and is considered by some as the first written Constitution in the Western tradition, and thus earned Connecticut its nickname of The Constitution State. Lakeland High School. This is an unquestionably A landmark decision of the United States Supreme Court, which overturned earlier rulings going back to Plessy v. Knowing what is in the U. View my complete profile. The Constitution that was drafted in contained all of the following compromises that secured its final passage EXCEPT All of the following are true statements about the Take this quiz!
Charles Beard Thesis Apush
It also emphasizes political and social activities, while placing little emphasis on economic and cultural trends. Pragmatism is a philosophical tradition that — very broadly — understands knowing the world as inseparable from agency within it. Article 7 Edit. Each state had been operating under its own constitution since the Revolution, although some were pretty much just the colonial charters without the word "king. Scoring Guide. Timeline of the US Constitution. Are you tired of using the same old textbook, but your school budget makes it impossible to even consider a new book adoption?
Are you looking to productively take advantage of the myriad of online resources? Their arguments included: it was a class-based document, it would erode fundamental liberties; and it would erode the power of the states. An advocate for a strong federal government, the Virginia-born Madison composed the first drafts of the U. Johnson How did the delegates to the Constitutional Convention balance competing interests?
The Articles of Confederation. A New Realization. Lesson Plans.