Beard V.s. Commager

Topics: Federalism, Separation of powers, Democracy Pages: 2 (389 words) Published: April 14, 2014
Beard vs. Commager Argument Assessment
I. Main thesis
a. Beard
i. The Constitution was an economic document that was set up by the founding fathers so that the government could achieve economic results that benefit their personal interests. b. Commager
i. The Constitution is essentially a political document, carefully created to stand for years to come and to serve as an example of democracy for people around the world. II. How thesis is supported

a. Beard
i. Beard supports his thesis by giving evidence of the economic interests of elite who wrote the Constitution, and then showing how the structure of the government benefits these specific interests. b. Commager

i. Commager supports his thesis by naming the two problems that the Constitution worked to fix, the problem of federalism and how to use laws to keep power of different branches of government in check. III. Types of evidence used

a. Beard
i. Newspapers and pamphlets from the time period (The Federalist) ii. Written recordings of discussions at the convention
iii. Census material from the time period that show the occupations/properties owned/slaves owned by founding fathers that could have affected how they structured the government b. Commager
i. Quotes from founding fathers, Quotes from Beard’s article (with different interpretations) ii. The content of the constitution (doesn’t show a controlling influence) iii. Facts - that there are no wealth/property qualifications to hold office in the federal government IV. Logic and overall strength of argument

a. Beard
i. Powers given to the government by the founding fathers such as control in foreign and interstate commerce allowed them to make laws that help themselves. Also, the entire government was set up in an exclusive manner so that only one branch was selected by popular vote, allowing the elite to further use the government to benefit their economic interests. b. Commager

i. I think that this argument was much stronger than...
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