Books: Latter-Day Beard

THE REPUBLIC—Charles A. Beard—Viking ($3).

Charles Austin Beard, who looks like the American bald eagle, has made historical scholarship a springboard to a life of heady and exhilarating controversy. The Republic is the latest round of the argument. It will also go a long way to end the notion that, as a historian, Charles A. Beard is an economic determinist and nothing else.

Back in 1913, in his pioneering work, An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States, Beard argued that the Founding Fathers represented four groups of interests: "money, public...

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