The Political and Social Thought of Charles A. Beard

The Political and Social Thought of Charles A. Beard

The Political and Social Thought of Charles A. Beard

The Political and Social Thought of Charles A. Beard

Excerpt

In searching for light on men's thinking it is fitting and proper, therefore, to inquire into the circumstances of their individual history and experience and to examine the great interests which they have been associated with or espoused. Indeed unless we are to indulge in idle speculation or in vague psychological conjectures no other course seems open to us.

Prefatory note, Samuel J. Konefsky, Chief Justice Stone and the Supreme Court (1945)

There is impressive evidence to indicate that the first half of the twentieth century has been as rich in social thought as any period in our history. In the space of scarcely a human life span, our people have built up giant industrial and financial organizations, acquired an overseas empire, participated in the Great War of 1914-18, returned to "normalcy," struggled with problems of economic depression, fought World War II, helped launch the United Nations, and unlocked atomic power. It is small wonder if a great ferment of ideas has accompanied these developments.

In the present volume we examine the thinking of Charles A. Beard, whose intellectual career from 1898 to 1948 reflected the major currents in American thought during this half century.

Beard had the distinction of achieving prominence and wide influence in two fields: political science and history. He attained the presidency of the national association in each discipline. He wrote prolifically for fifty years and had a large readership not only in academic circles but throughout the general public. Literally millions of copies of his writings were published. His ideas were a center of controversy as early as the progressive era and as late as the year of his death.

Mere mention of some of his intellectual interests suggests the broad range of his scholarship and thought. In 1913 his progressive era view of American politics and history attracted stormy attention . . .

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