Charles Beard


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historian and educator, after graduating from DePauw University (1898) attended Oxford, where he founded Ruskin College (1899) to train labor leaders, and became professor of political science at Columbia (1904–17). He wrote a number of textbooks on European history, but, deciding “that American history is more interesting,” he next published An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution (1913) and Economic Origins of Jeffersonian Democracy (1915), volumes that established him as a liberal historian, and profoundly affected the study of American history but, alienated many traditionalists. Beard resigned from Columbia (1917) to protest the dismissal of pacifist professors, and the next year helped found The New School for Social Research. With his wife, Mar R. Beard, he wrote The Rise of American Civilization (2 vols., 1927), an analysis of U.S. institutions, emphasizing social and economic backgrounds; America in Midpassage (1939), a continuation; The American Spirit (1942), about the “idea of civilization” in the U.S.; and A Basic History of the United States (1944).

Subjects: Literature.

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