Framing the Constitution


In his work, ‘Framing the constitution,’ Charles A. Beard comes up with document that advocates for rights of the people to freedom through minimal governance and less interference by the government. This document however did not meet the government objectives, which were geared towards improvement of trade, property protection, and security of the nation. He boldly pointed out that the constitution was designed to safeguard the owners of the property. Beard had foreseen the segregation of the nation into social classes, which had two groups of people, the rich and the poor. However, this amendment had just popped up immediately after independence and all they needed was to settle national debts, improve and maintain peace, order and welfare of the people, and stabilize the economic and finance sectors of the nation to pave way to the improvement of the country’s development, (Beard 1).

Characteristics of delegates to the Constitution Convention of 1787

Beard depicts the team as strong enough and capable of restructuring the government system in America.  The team was the greatest of all that had been met for such a noble goal in all times. Members of the team had all the skills needed to have a good paper that could see the nation prosper. The attributes that the members of the team were given include: understanding of political arena in practice, experience and good skills in administration, love for humanity, strong desire for good governance, good knowledge in law, and a better understanding of finance.

He went ahead to argue that the team had a noble goal and wanted to see into it that they put in place the policies that would see the nation stabilize its currency and  conform to the objective of the country. The strength of their interest was establishing a government that was capable of paying debts that the nation owed, controlling both, domestic and foreign trade, improving national security, the stability of the nation’s currency, and human rights, for example, reducing discrimination, protecting human rights. The radicals did not attend the Convention and were clear about it. They included Samuel Adams, Jefferson and Patrick Henry, (Beard 3).

Views of the delegates to the Convention on democracy and equality

The delegates were appointed by the legislators and governors of their mother states following an order from the legislative council. They were restricted to just revising the document, some states gave them extremely limited powers.  That means that most of what they did was under political influence. The members of legislature were not up to any good for the nation. They were neither supporting democracy nor equality. Greed had thrived, and they used their influence to protect their interest and keep themselves afloat, despite the fact that they were rejected by the majority. They did not allow others to participate, were not ready for changes, and most of them lacked the humanity. This was evident from continuous support for permanent and consistent institution.  They did not have people in mind when making up the document that was supposed to drive the nation. Notably, all their thoughts were directed towards private security, keeping people thinking that theirs was the best government, and continuing to oppress them.

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Evidence that the Constitution purposed to protect private property

Beard talks about the greatest of delegation’s fear as that of protecting their properties, against what he calls ‘leveling tendencies’ of people to create equity in property ownership in the society. This would ensure that the gap between the rich and the poor is reduced by distributing wealth to the masses that do not have. Governor Morris talked about the problem of fair representation, and brought forward the truth of the matter. He pointed out that though the society believed that independence and life were of more value as compared to wealth, the property was actually the center of everything. Owing to this, those in government had to recognize the influence placed on property. Mr. King did not hesitate to commend that property could not be ignored; he saw it as the basic thing in a given society, (Beard 6).

Mr. Madison thought that the system they were coming up with was to remain several years down the line. He demanded that they stayed focused on amendments that would be introduced in form of apportioning the property to bring equity to the society. He considered the foreseen changes in elongating the term of the senate and giving it a lot of power. He also forecasted increase in population especially that of the poor people.  He though that as their population increased and the living conditions for them got worse, they would start agitating for their wealth and demand equitable distribution of wealth. He thought that at one point the poor would outnumber the rich and maybe rise against them as a result of poverty. Suffrage equal law supposes that the power still finds its way to the hands of the rich. Signs of what they called ‘leveling spirit’ were foreseen and thought to be not healthy to the system though agriculture revolution had not taken place. Madison further supported the fact that someone had to own property to be eligible to vote. He thought that majority of the people were yet to be bankrupt, that is lacking land as well as all other properties. They thought the situation would drive people to a revolution against the government as result of common interest. They feared they would jeopardize public liberty and even endanger security of their properties. Through this, social classes had to come up resulting from ownership of property as a way of qualifying to vote. Despite of their influence and power during the time, they moved the convention forward but they did not make it since the opposing force was stronger.

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In this case, Beard has argued very clearly using The Federalist and has delivered sufficient and convincing evidence that the constitution was geared to protect the private property for the wealthy class. This had been evident when there was fear arising from foreseen problems and uneven distribution of wealth. There was also an argument that the president had to stop the advancement of the legislative system with its idea that it was illogical using the veto power. Lastly, the argument that the Federalist put forward demanding to the power of the constitution control be moved from the citizens to the ruling class was enough to demonstrate their barbarism.

The founders did not make it to what they really wanted. Those, who were loyal to the country and the people, sought for the good documents that protected everyone were written for the benefit of all the citizens. This was seen when he pointed out that they finally came up with a document that checked and balanced power.

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