The Argument that the US Constitution Favors the Elite Essay

The Argument that the US Constitution Favors the Elite Essay

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In 1787 there was a large tension between the elites and the underdogs over debt and tax relief. The delegates at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia worked to remedy this tension; however, they did so at the expense of the underdog, the indebted, suffering farmer, and for the benefit of the wealthy, who gained from the underdogs’ suffering. How did the delegates manage to design a constitution so biased towards the elite and how exactly did the document benefit the wealthy? Section I examines the interests of the indebted farmers and the wealth. Section II explains how the delegates came to design a constitution that benefited the upper class. Section III Provides examples from the Constitution that show its bias towards the elite and the outcome that was in their benefit.

I. The Interests of the Public at the Time of The Convention
` At the time of the convention, farmers were the debtor class and were prone to revolt. Farmers, who lived all across the United States, sought debt relief and tax relief (Beard, 28). The weight of the debt at the time was crushing small American farmers who were being forced to pay their debts by selling their property for less than its value (Holton, 90). These debtors sought relief in many legal forms. For example, they asked for the “abolition of imprisonment, paper money, laws delaying the collection of debts, propositions requiring debtors to accept land in lieu of specie at a valuation fixed by a board of arbitration” (Beard, 28). However, they also sought relief through revolt (ex. Shays’ Rebellion) (Beard 28). Their desires contrast those of the creditors, stockholders, manufacturers, and shippers of their time (Beard, 29).
These elites were of a “group of interests… that of p...


... middle of paper ...


...ons that both allude to the conflicts between the elites and underdogs and clearly benefit the elite, and finally that the delegates were mostly elites themselves – they clearly show that the Constitution was designed to benefit the elite at the expense of the underdog.



Works Cited

"The Federalist Papers." Founding Fathers. Accessed February 23, 2014. http://www.foundingfathers.info/federalistpapers/.

Publius. "The Federalist No. 10." The Constitutional Society. October 21, 2013. Accessed February 24, 2014. http://www.constitution.org/fed/federa10.html.

Beard, Charles Austin. An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States. New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction Publishers, 1998. eBook Collection (EBSCOhost), EBSCOhost (accessed February 23, 2014

Holton, Woody. Unruly Americans and the Origins of the Constitution. New York: Hill and Wang, 2007.

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