To Form a More Perfect Union: A New Economic Interpretation of the United States Constitution

To Form a More Perfect Union: A New Economic Interpretation of the United States Constitution

by Robert A. McGuire
     
 

ISBN-10: 0195139704

ISBN-13: 9780195139709

Pub. Date: 03/28/2003

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

Many important questions regarding the creation and adoption of the United States Constitution remain unresolved. Did slaveholdings or financial holdings significantly influence our Founding Fathers' stance on particular clauses or rules contained in the Constitution? Was there a division of support for the Constitution related to religious beliefs or ethnicity?

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Overview

Many important questions regarding the creation and adoption of the United States Constitution remain unresolved. Did slaveholdings or financial holdings significantly influence our Founding Fathers' stance on particular clauses or rules contained in the Constitution? Was there a division of support for the Constitution related to religious beliefs or ethnicity? Were founders from less commercial areas more likely to oppose the Constitution? To Form a More Perfect Union successfully answers these questions and offers an economic explanation for the behavior of our Founding Fathers during the nation's constitutional founding.
In 1913, American historian Charles A. Beard controversially argued in his book An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States that the framers and ratifiers of the Constitution were less interested in furthering democratic principles than in advancing specific economic and financial interests. Beard's thesis eventually emerged as the standard historical interpretation and remained so until the 1950s. Since then, many constitutional and historical scholars have questioned an economic interpretation of the Constitution as being too narrow or too calculating, believing the great principles and political philosophies that motivated the Founding Fathers to be worthier subjects of study.
In this meticulously researched reexamination of the drafting and ratification of our nation's Constitution, Robert McGuire argues that Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, George Mason and the other Founding Fathers did act as much for economic motives as for abstract ideals. To Form a More Perfect Union offers compelling evidence showing that the economic, financial, and other interests of the founders can account for the specific design and adoption of our Constitution. This is the first book to provide modern evidence that substantiates many of the overall conclusions found in Charles Beard's An Economic Interpretation while challenging and overturning other of Beard's specific findings. To Form a More Perfect Union presents an entirely new approach to the study of the shaping of the U.S. Constitution. Through the application of economic thinking and rigorous statistical techniques, as well as the processing of vast amounts of data on the economic interests and personal characteristics of the Founding Fathers, McGuire convincingly demonstrates that an economic interpretation of the Constitution is valid. Radically challenging the prevailing views of most historians, political scientists, and legal scholars, To Form a More Perfect Union provides a wealth of new findings about the Founding Fathers' constitutional choices and sheds new light on the motivations behind the design and adoption of the United States Constitution.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195139709
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
03/28/2003
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
416
Product dimensions:
9.40(w) x 6.20(h) x 1.20(d)

Table of Contents

Prologue: A New Economic Interpretation
1. The Evolution of the Prevailing Interpretation
2. Economics and the Constitution
Part I: The Philadelphia Convention of 1787
3. The Choice of Specific Clauses in the Constitution
4. Another Look at the Choice of Specific Clauses in the Constitution
5. The Choice of the Basic Design of the Constitution
Part II: The Ratification of the Constitution, 1787-1790
6. The Overall Ratification Vote in the Nation
7. The Ratification Vote within Individual State Conventions
Epilogue: The Lessons of 1787 and Ratification
Appendixes
Appendix 1: Documents
Appendix 2: The Data and Their Sources
Appendix 3: Full and Parsimonius Voting Models for the Philadelphia Convention
Appendix 4: Personal-Interest and Constituent-Interest Voting Models for the Philadelphia Convention
Appendix 5: Alternative Voting Model and Hypothesis Tests for Nationalism at the Philadelphia Convention
Appendix 6: Voting Models for Pooled Samples of the State Ratifying Conventions
Appendix 7: Voting Models for Massachusetts, North Carolina, and Virginia Ratifying Conventions
Notes
References
Index

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