Charles Austin Beard ( 1874-1948 )


"Different degrees and kinds of property inevitably exist in modern society; party doctrines and ,principles' originate in the sentiments and views which the possession of various kinds of property creates in the minds of the possessors; class and group divisions based on property lie at the basis of modern government; and politics and constitutional law are inevitably a reflex of these contending interests."

An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States , New York 1913, S. 15-16.


Stimmen der Forschung

"Few, if any, of his contemporaries matched Charles Beard in his far-reaching impact upon twentieth-century American intellectual and cultural life. He was a major contributor to the reorientation of political science from formalistic description to realistic analysis, one of the progressive era's top experts of municipal government, an apostle of the glory of efficiency, a pioneer in the establishment of public administration as a field of study, and a leading figure in the revamping of the nation's educational system to make the schools more relevant to current needs and problems."

Clyde N. Wilson: Charles A. Beard, in: DLB, Bd. 17: Twentieth-Century American Historians, Detroit 1983, S. 39.


"An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States challenged the traditional view that the Constitution resulted from a wise blend of theory and experience, a balance between affirmation and restraint of liberty, and a grasp of past and present wisdom - as if the whole people in their desire for liberty and order had created the Constitution. Beard rejected all such talk about idealism, wisdom, and providence [.]. It was based on illusions that an industrial society must expunge before true democracy could be established."

Ernst Breisach: Historiography. Ancient, Medieval & Modern, Chicago 1983, S. 301.


"Beard's tough-minded zeal to purge history of false idealism drove him to specify the property interests of both sides - the interests of opponents of the Constitution as well as those of its makers. He was thus more consistent than many progressives, and in a sense more impartial; but this typology suffered from excessive concreteness."

John Higham: History. Professional Scholarship in America , Baltimore 1983, S. 180.


"Beard inveighed against the idealized view of the origin of the nation, the popular assertion of America's national and social consensus, ruling industrial capitalism, and modern foreign politics. He raised his criticism both before and after the onset of the Depression. In the face of Stalinism, fascism, and National Socialism in Europe , his critique became increasingly developed, attaining the character of a coherent historical theory. He believed scientific history, especially the study of economic systems, to be of enduring importance, but he thought that scientific objective knowledge of the past was out of the question, 'a noble dream'."

Ernst Schulin: Modern German and American Historiography in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, in: Hartmut Lehmann/James J. Sheehan: An Interrupted Past. German-Speaking Refugee Historians in the United States after 1933, Cambridge 1991, S. 22.


"Der neben Turner prononcierteste und zugleich produktivste Exponent der ,Progressive Historians' war Charles A. Beard, der mit seiner 1913 erschienenen ikonoklastischen Deutung der amerikanischen Verfassungsgebung berühmt wurde. Rekurrierend auf den Nationalökonomen Edwin A. Seligman und auf Turners Leitideen interpretierte er den Weg zur Bundesverfassung im Sinne eines strikt angewandten ökonomischen Determinismus [...]."

Matthias Waechter: Die "Progressive Historians" und die Modernisierung der amerikanischen Geschichtswissenschaft, in: Wolfgang Küttler/Jörn Rüsen/Ernst Schulin (Hgg.): Geschichtsdiskurs, Bd. 4: Krisenbewußtsein, Katastrophenerfahrungen und Innovationen 1880-1845, S. 130f.


"Within the intellectual community at large in these years, Beard was the American historian. In the 1938 New Republic symposium on ,Books That Changed Our Minds', Beard was ranked second only to Veblen in influence, ahead of Dewey and Freud. A study of college textbooks in 1936 showed that his Economic Interpretation of the Constitution had become virtual orthodoxy. The Rise of American Civilization , the work of synthesis which Beard, with his wife Mary, published in 1927, received wide popular and professional acclaim [.]."

Peter Novick: That Noble Dream. The "Objectivity Question" and the American Historical Profession, Cambridge u. a. 1998, S. 240.


"Beards Studie [An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States] ist ein illustres Beispiel für die kritische Sprengkraft, die in dem ökonomischen Determinismus einer solchen Inhaltsanalyse lag und liegt. Zusätzlich motiviert war sie durch Beards politisches Engagement als sozialer Reformer, das ihn zu einem scharfen Kritiker des politischen Establishments in den USA werden ließ. Wirkung erzielte dieser Klassiker gerade durch seiner gezielte 'Einseitigkeit' und 'Überschärfe'. Sie löste heftige Gegenreaktionen in der patriotischen Öffentlichkeit, aber auch unter konservativeren Kollegen aus."

Lutz Raphael: Geschichtswissenschaft im Zeitalter der Extreme. Theorien, Methoden, Tendenzen von 1900 bis zur Gegenwart, München 2003, S. 80f.




Geboren in Knightstown/IN, als zweiter Sohn von William Harry Harrison Beard (Farmer, Geschäftsmann und Quäker) und Mary J., geb. Payne


Studium an der DePauw University, engagierter Reformer, Verbindungsführer und Herausgeber der Studentenzeitschrift, PhB


Studium der englischen Verfassungsgeschichte an der University of Oxford, UK

Gründung der Volksbildungsstätte Ruskin Hall, heute ein College, zusammen mit Mrs. Walter Vrooman


Heirat mit Mary Ritter (Feministin und Historikerin), zwei Kinder


Politikstudium an der Columbia University, MA


PhD in Politikwissenschaften: The Office of Justice of the Peace in England


Professor für Geschichte, ab 1907 für Politik an der Columbia University, Rücktritt aus politischen Gründen


Mitherausgeber der Zeitschrift AHR


Direktor der Training School for Public Service im New York Bureau of Municipal Research


Unabhängiger Lektor und Schriftsteller


Mitbegründer der New School for Social Research


Direktor der Training School for Public Service, u.a. Beschäftigung mit Stadtentwicklung, Einladung nach Tokio zum Wiederaufbau nach einem Erdbeben


Präsident der American Political Science Association


Präsident der American Historical Association


Professur für Geschichte an der Johns Hopkins University


Gestorben in New Haven/CT


Werke (Auswahl)


The Industrial Revolution, London 1901 (Westport/CT ²1973)


The Office of Justice of the Peace in England , New York 1904 ( New York 1962)


An Introduction to the English Historians, New York 1906 ( New York 1968)


The Development of Modern Europe, Boston 1907 ( Boston 1929), gemeinsam mit James Harvey Robinson


European Sobriety in the Presence of the Balkan Crisis, New York 1908


An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States , New York 1913 ( New York 1998), dt. u.a. Frankfurt a. M. 1974


American Citizenship, New York 1914 ( New York 1928), gemeinsam mit Mary Ritter Beard


Contemporary American History. 1877-1913, New York 1914 ( Washington 1971)


Economic Origins of Jeffersonian Democracy, New York 1915 ( New York 1965)


The Supreme Court and the Constitution, New York 1916 (Union/NJ 1999)


The Economic Basis of Politics, New York 1922, erw. New York 1945 (New Brunswick/NJ 2002), dt. Stuttgart 1949


The Rise of American Civilization, 4 Bde., New York 1927-1942, ( New York 1966), gemeinsam mit Mary Ritter Beard


The Balkan pivot, Yugoslavia : a Study in Government and Administration, New York 1929


The American Leviathan: the Republic in the Machine Age, London 1931, gemeinsam mit William Beard


The Idea of Progress: an Inquiry into its Origin and Growth, New York 1932


Elementary world history: a Revised and Simplified Edition of Our Old World Background, New York 1932


Hitlerism and our liberties, New York 1934


The Idea of National Interest: an Analytical Study in American Foreign Policy, New York 1934 (Westport/CT 1977)


The Nature of the Social Sciences in Relation to Objectives of Instruction, New York 1934 ( New York 1974)


The Devil Theory of War: An Inquiry into the Nature of History and the Possibility of Keeping Out of War, New York 1936 ( New York 1969)


The American Spirit: a Study of the Idea of Civilization in the United States , New York 1942


A Basic History of the United States , New York 1944, dt. Zürich 1948 (Garden City/NY 1968), gemeinsam mit Mary Ritter Beard


American Foreign Policy in the Making. A Study in Responsibilities, New Haven/CT 1946


President Roosevelt and the Coming of the War, 1941: A Study in Appearance and Realistics, New Haven/CT 1948 (New Brunswick/NJ 2003)


The History of the American People, New York 1948, gemeinsam mit Mary Ritter Beard und William C. Bagley


The Economic Basis of Politics, Ann Arbor 1962 (New Brunswick 2002)


Charles A. Beard's The Presidents in American History, brought forward since 1948 by William Beard, New York 1977



Barrow, Clyde W.: More than a Historian. The Political and Economic Thought of Charles A. Beard, New Brunswick/NJ 2000.

Beale, Howard K. (Hg.): Charles A. Beard: An Appraisal, Lexington/KY 1994.

Beg, Elias: The Historical Thinking of Charles Beard, Stockholm 1957.

Benson, Lee: Turner and Beard. American Historical Writing Reconsidered, Westport/CT 2 1980.

Blinkhoff, Maurice: The Influence of Charles A. Beard upon American Historiography, Buffalo 1936.

Borning, Bernhard C.: The Political and Social Thought of Charles A. Beard, Seattle 1962.

Breisach, Ernst: Historiography. Ancient, Medieval & Modern, Chicago 1983. Brown,

Robert Eldon: Charles Beard and the Constitution: a Critical Analysis of "An economic interpretation of the Constitution", Princeton 2 1979.

Breisach, Ernst: American Progressive History. An Experiment in Modernization, Chicago 1993.

Craig, Campbell: The not-so-strange Career of Charles Beard, in: Diplomatic History/The Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations 25 (2001), S. 251-274.

Deininger, Whitaker T.: The Skepticism and Historical Faith of Charles A. Beard, in: Journal of the History of Ideas 15 (1954), S. 573-588.

Dennis, Lawrence J.: George S. Counts and Charles A. Beard, Collaborators for Change, Albany/NY 1989.

Diggins, John P.: Power and Authority in American History: The Case of Charles A. Beard and His Critics, in: AHR 86 (1981), S. 701-730.

Dray, William: Perspectives on History, London 1980.

Fischer, David Hackett: Historical Fallacies - Towards a Logic of Historical Though, London 1971.

Higham , John: History. Professional Scholarship in America , Baltimore 1983.

Hofstadter, Richard: The Progressive Historians. Turner, Beard, Parrington , New York 1968.

Kennedy, Thomas C.: Charles A. Beard and American Foreign Policy, Gainsville/FL 1975.

Klose, Andreas R.: Dogmen demokratischen Geschichtsdenkens. Monumentalische Nationalgeschichtsschreibung in den USA, Würzburg 2003.

Lingelbach, Gabriele: Klio macht Karriere. Die Institutionalisierung der Geschichtswissenschaft in Frankreich und den USA in der zweiten Hälfte des 19. Jahrhunderts (Veröffentlichungen des Max-Planck-Institutes für Geschichte 181), Berlin 2003.

Marcell, David W.: Progress and Pragmatism: James, Dewey, Beard, and the American Idea of Progress, Westport/CT 1974.

Marks, Harry J.: Ground under Our Feet: Beard's Relativism, in: Journal of the History of Ideas 14 (1953), S. 628-633.

Martin, James J.: Charles A. Beard: A Tribute, in: The Journal of Historical Review 3 (1982), S. 239-258.

Meiland, Jack W.: The Historical Relativism of Charles A. Beard, in: H&T 12 (1973), S. 405-413.

Morgan, Edmund: The American Revolution: A Review of Changing Interpretations, in: William H. Cartwright/Richard L. Watson (Hgg.): Interpreting and Teaching American History, 31 st Yearbook of the National Council for the Social Studies, Washington 1961.

Nash, Gerald D.: Self-education in Historiography: The Case of Charles A. Beard, in: Pacific Northwest Quaterly 52 (1961), S. 108-115.

Nore, Ellen: Charles A. Beard. An Intellectual Biography, Carbondale/IL 1983.

Novick, Peter: That Noble Dream. The "Objectivity Question" and the American Historical Profession, Cambridge u. a. 1998.

Rauch, Basil: Roosevelt from Munich to Pearl Harbour : A Study in the Creation of a Foreign Policy, New York 1950.

Ritter Beard, Mary: The Making of Charles A. Beard. An Interpretation, New York 1955.

Rogers, Hugh I.: Charles A. Beard, the 'New Physics', and Historical Relativity, in: The Historian 30 (1968), S. 545-560.

Sellers, Charles/Henry May/Neil R. Mc Millen: A Synopsis of American History, Chicago 7 1992.

Skop, Arthur L.: The Primacy of Domestic Politics: Eckart Kehrand and the Intellectual Development of Charles A. Beard, in: H&T 13 (1974), S. 119-131.

Sorenson, Lloyd R.: Charles A. Beard and German Historiographical Thought, in: Mississippi Valley Historical Review 42 (1955), S. 274-287.

Strout, Cushing: The Pragmatic Revolt in American History. Carl Becker and Charles Beard, New Haven/CT 1958.

Swanson, Marvin C.: Charles A. Beard: an Observance of the Centennial of his Birth, DePauw University , Greencastle/IN, October 11-12, 1974, Greencastle/IN1976.

Waechter, Matthias: Die Erfindung des Westens. Die Frontier-Debatte, Freiburg i. Br. 1996.

Waechter, Michael: Die "Progressive Historians" und die Modernisierung der amerikanischen Geschichtswissenschaft, in: Wolfgang Küttler/Jörn Rüsen/Ernst Schulin (Hgg.): Geschichtsdiskurs, Bd. 4: Krisenbewußtsein, Katastrophenerfahrungen und Innovationen 1880-1945, Frankfurt a. M. 1997, S. 124-135.

Williams, William A.: A Note on Charles A. Beard's Search for a General Theory a Causation, in: AHR 62 (1956), S. 59-80.



a) Quellen


An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States


komplette englische Version von Beards "Economic Interpretation of the United States" mit umfangreichem Material zu Beard (Rezensionen, Exzerpte, u.a.)
Anbieter: Lachlan Cranswick, Melbourne , Australia.


Written History as an Act of Faith


jährliche Rede des Präsidenten der AHA, gehalten in Urbana am 28. Dezember 1933
Anbieter: AHA- Homepage.


The Idea of Progress


Auszug aus Beards Werk
Anbieter: University of Virginia.


b) Sekundärinformationen




Biografische Angaben und weiterführende Links
Anbieter: National Grid for Learning, the gateway to educational resources on the internet, UK




Essay über "The Supreme Court and the Constitution"
Anbieter: School of corporative Individualism.


Mary Ritter Beard


Angaben zur Biografie und zu den Werken der Ehefrau Beards mit Zitaten aus ihren Werken
Anbieter: National Grid for Learning, the gateway to educational resources on the internet, UK.




Nachlassverzeichnis mit biografischen Angaben
Anbieter: Smith College, Northhampton, MA.




Biografie mit vielen Details
Anbieter: Houghton Mifflin Company, amerikanischer Verlag.




Kritik an Beards Werk und Zitate von ihm
Anbieter: LexRex, amerikanisches Unternehmen.




Aufsatz über Progressive Historiography of the American War for Independence
Anbieter: Mike Crane Department of Humanities Computing. Groningen, NL.




kurzer Eintrag zu Leben und Werk
Anbieter: Encyclopedia.com, nach Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition.


Sarah-Leonie Kaufhold 



Erstellt: 04.03.2006

Zuletzt geändert: 22.05.2014

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