Chapter

The Founding Era, 1774–1791

Robert A. McGuire

in Government & The American Economy

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2007 | ISBN: 9780226251271
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226251295 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226251295.003.0003
The Founding Era, 1774–1791

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The U.S. Constitution was designed by America's Founding Fathers, who, together with other political representatives, voted on ratifying it in conventions of the thirteen states. This chapter addresses these and many other questions concerning the design and adoption of the U.S. Constitution. It discusses the economic problems that the Constitutional Convention was meant to resolve and how the ideologies and economic interests of the Founding Fathers and the society at large influenced the document. After providing a background on the Continental Congress, the Revolutionary War, and the Articles of Confederation, the chapter looks at the Philadelphia Constitutional Convention and the impact of a stronger central government on the economy. It then examines Charles A. Beard's economic interpretation of the Constitution and Robert E. Brown and Forrest McDonald's criticisms against his thesis. Finally, it focuses on the ratification of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and the implications of the Constitution for America's future.

Keywords: Constitution; Bill of Rights; economy; Charles A. Beard; Articles of Confederation; Revolutionary War; Founding Fathers; central government; Constitutional Convention; ratification

Chapter.  13743 words. 

Subjects: Economic History

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