I read the University of Chicago edition of McDonald, not this one, but cannot find the cover of the former on the Web and, so, went with this edition produced by a right-wing publishing house.At the time I resolved to study the economic factor in the formulation of the Constitution, Beard was clearly the place to start. The choice of McDonald as the counterpoint to Beard's thesis was fortuitous. I don't recall anyone recommending him, just finding his book at the Maine South H.S. library as the one which seemed most intent on critiquing An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States. At the time I had no idea that McDonald was identified as a right-wing idealogue. That, too, was fortunate as I was prejudiced. As it happened, I read McDonald carefully and objectively.I wonder now where that old term paper went to. Is it in some box down in the basement? Not having it at hand and forty years having passed, my recall is not exact. What I do remember is that McDonald seemed obliged to accept Beard's general thesis that economic factors substantially influenced the behaviors of the framers of the Constitution. His critique of Beard, so it seemed to me, amounted to saying that Beard had been too simplistic. There were lots of economic factors, many of them regional, so that the rich weren't united as a class against the poor. But, then, I thought, Beard wasn't doing some sort of simplistic Marxist analysis. He never even cited Marx or any Marxists in his book. I tended to think that the rich had interests importantly different than the poor, then and now, but Beard, while not as detailed as McDonald, didn't seem to be ignoring divisions within the ranks of the wealthy and/or landed. In other words, McDonald seemed to be taking Beard's thesis and, with the advantage of more data and more research, refining it. His explicit criticisms of Beard seemed overstated, perhaps, I thought, simply to sell his book.Finally, while McDonald's book represents impressive scholarship, it is certainly not as readable of Beard's.Craig J.
We the People : The Economic Origins of the Constitution (Library of Conservative Thought) by Forrest McDonald (1991)Steven Peterson
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 Founders who refused to sign the document at the end of the Convention were people with large personal property holdings--precisely the interest that Beard argued created a Constitution to benefit its members. All in all, a solid work. . . .