Beard, Charles Austin (1874–1948), a United States historian and political scientist. His An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States (1913) was a landmark in historical writing. It stressed the part economic interests played in the framing of the Constitution and helped foster the economic determinist approach to history. Beard was also an important figure in the Progressive movement.
The Rise of American Civilization (2 volumes, 1927), written by Beard and his wife, Mary, is a broad view of United States history emphasizing political and economic factors. The Beards continued this series with America in Midpassage (1939) and The American Spirit (1943). A shorter work is A Basic History of the United States (1944). Beard's last book was President Roosevelt and the Coming of the War (1948).
Beard was born near Knightstown, Indiana, and graduated from DePauw University in 1898. He received his Ph.D. from Columbia in 1904 and taught politics there until 1917. In 1919 he helped found the New School for Social Research in New York City. He advised the Japanese and Yugoslav governments in the early 1920's. He devoted much time to writing until 1940, when he became professor of American history at Johns Hopkins University.
Mary Ritter Beard (1876–1958) was a distinguished historian in her own right. She was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, and graduated from DePauw University in 1897. She married Charles Beard in 1900 and worked with him on many of his books. Mrs. Beard became an authority on women's social problems. Her own books include A Short History of the American Labor Movement (1920) and On Understanding Women (1931).