Charles Austin Beard PhD 1904 was a notable professor of American history. He was notable for asserting that the Constitution was the product of the Founding Fathers' economic interests, which drew the ire of University President Nicholas Murray Butler and the trustees. In 1919, angry with Butler after attempts by the University President to stifle other professors' dissent to World War I, Beard left Columbia to help found the New School for Social Research.
After receiving his PhD, Beard lectured at Columbia for three years before securing a full-time position in the Department of Public Law. There is speculation that Beard may have been considered a successor to Butler while he was still on the staff. However, Butler would cling to his position until 1945.
Beard was reportedly an excellent teacher. One biographer noted that "there was an Olympian quality to his presence on the lecture platform. He was always the orator, never merely a speaker."