Issue 7: Was the Constitution of the United States Written to Protect the Economic Interests of the Upper Classes?
According to radical historian Howard Zinn, the Founding Fathers were an elite group of northern money interests and southern slaveholders who used Shay’s Rebellion in Massachusetts as a pretext to create a strong central government, which protected the property rights of the rich to the exclusion of slaves, Indians, and non-property-holding whites. Zinn uses an excerpt from historian George Bancroft to explain his reasoning. Bancroft basically said that the Constitution left out individuals and favored certain classes. Zinn also uses an excerpt from historian Charles Beard to explain his reasoning. Beard basically said that the rich controls the government or the laws the government operates by. Zinn points out that the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights shows that quality of interest hides behind innocence. Meaning that Congress completely ignores the freedom of speech.
Professor of history Gordon S. Wood views the struggle for a new constitution in 1787-1788 as a social conflict between upper-class Federalists who desired a stronger central government and the “humbler” Anti-Federalists who controlled the state assemblies. He says that the writers and supporters of the Constitution were Federalists and they believed that the Constitution was a fulfillment. Which basically means, that those Federalists didn’t see anything wrong with the Constitution. Antifederalists said the Constitution was a denial of the principles of 1776. They were saying that the Constitution was didn’t honor the liberty nor the self-government. Wood believes that the Federalists acted more creatively than any other generation in America history. He also believes that the Federalists of the 1790s feared the people, while the earlier Federalists didn’t and knew about the abuses of the popular power.
I think that the article by Howard Zinn is the most...