What Beard omits from his history is the wisdom and dedication of the Founders in overcoming narrow self-interest to produce a masterful guiding document for the country.
The actions of Robert Morris of Pennsylvania and Nathaniel Gorham of Massachusetts, for example, are remarkable.
For example, Daniel Jenifer of Maryland, who signed the Constitution in Philadelphia, held no public securities—a point against Beard’s view that the signers were self-interested.
But Beard classified Jenifer among the large security holders because his son Daniel Jenifer, Jr., held several thousand dollars’ worth of them.
A stronger governing document was needed to ease the transfer of tax dollars from ordinary citizens into the pockets of the more affluent Founders. Beard made his reputation with his book and went on to an illustrious career: He authored or coauthored 49 books that had sold more than 11 million copies by 1952.
Thus, according to Beard, the constitutional convention in Philadelphia in 1787 was promoted by “a small and active group of men immediately interested through their personal possessions in the outcome of their labors. During the 1950s, historian Forrest Mc Donald did a more thorough study of the Founders and discovered what can most generously be described as errors in research and, less generously, as fraudulent research.
He further asserted that the Constitution was an economic document designed by those with money and property to protect those with money and property.
This class-struggle view was applied by Beard to all of American history.
.” Beard, who was among the first generation of professionally trained historians, gathered evidence on the Founders: “Many leaders in the movement for ratification were large [public] security holders,” he argued.
Mc Donald traveled to archives throughout the original 13 states and meticulously compiled data on thousands of men involved in the debate over the Constitution.