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Economic Basis of Politics
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Economic interpretations of history are irrevocably identifi ed with the name of Charles A. Beard. This is mainly due to his early book An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States (1913). Yet, in Beard's later work, The Economic Basis of Politics (1922), he articulates the main principles of his method and argues for its applicability to the understanding of current events. In this brief survey of Western political philosophy and contemporary constitutional arrangements, Beard concludes that it is well established doctrine that "there is a vital relation between the forms of a state and the distribution of property, revolutions in the state being usually the results of contests over property."
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Charles A. Beard (1874-1948) taught at Columbia University, then resigned to become a founder of The New School for Social Research. Among his many works are Development of Modern Europe, Economic Origins of Jeffersonian Democracy, The Rise of American Civilization, and President Roosevelt and the Coming of the War. Clyde W. Barrow is professor of political science and director of the Center for Policy Analysis at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth. He is the author of More than a Historian: The Political and Economic Thought of Charles A. Beard, published by Transaction.

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