Beard was especially concerned with the relationship of economic interests and politics. His study of the conservative economic interests of the men at the Federal Constitutional Convention, An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution (1913), caused much stir; he also wrote Economic Origins of Jeffersonian Democracy (1915, repr. 1965) and The Economic Basis of Politics (1922). His interest in city government led to American City Government (1912) as well as the long-standard American Government and Politics (1910). After resigning from Columbia in World War I, he helped to found the New School for Social Research (now New School Univ.), was director (1917-22) of the Training School for Public Service in New York City, and was an adviser on administration in Tokyo after the disastrous Japanese earthquake of 1923. Beard wrote A Charter for the Social Sciences in the Schools (1932), which had an enormous influence on the teaching of history.
Beard became widely known to the general reading public through The Rise of American Civilization (2 vol., 1927, repr. 1933) and its sequels (Vol. III and Vol. IV), America in Midpassage (1939), and The American Spirit (1943), all written in collaboration with his wife, Mary Ritter Beard, 1876-1958. This panoramic work is an example of the broad historical view that Beard championed; the great store of fact is laid open with easy and graceful literary style. With his wife he also later wrote a brief survey, The Beards' Basic History of the United States (1944, rev. ed. 1960).
Charles Beard, much criticized as a radical in his earlier years, was just as much criticized by the liberals in his later years for his violent opposition to Franklin D. Roosevelt's administration, especially in the struggle over the Supreme Court and in foreign policy. Beard's last work was President Roosevelt and the Coming of the War, 1941 (1948, repr. 1968). Mary R. Beard, a historian in her own right, was particularly interested in feminism and the labor movement and wrote a number of works on the subjects, notably Women's Work in Municipalities (1915), A Short History of the American Labor Movement (1920), On Understanding Women (1931), and Woman as Force in History (1946).
See studies by B. C. Borning (1962) and R. Hofstadter (1968, repr. 1970).
See his autobiography, Hardly a Man Is Now Alive (1939).
See R. Reynolds, Beards (1950).
A beard is the hair that grows on a person's chin, cheeks, neck, and the area above the upper lip (the opposite is a clean-shaven face). Typically, only post-pubescent males are able to grow beards. When differentiating between upper and lower facial hair, a beard specifically refers to the facial hair on the lower part of a man's chin (excluding the moustache, which refers to hair above the upper lip and around it). The study of beards is called pogonology.
In the course of history, men with facial hair have been ascribed various attributes such as wisdom and knowledge, sexual virility, or high social status; and, conversely, filthiness, crudeness, or an eccentric disposition, such as in the case of a tramp, hobo or vagrant. In many cultures beards are associated with nature and outdoorsmen.
Mesopotamian civilizations (Assyrian, Babylonian, Chaldean, Median and ancient Persian) devoted great care to oiling and dressing their beards, using tongs and curling irons to create elaborate ringlets and tiered patterns.
In ancient India, the beard was allowed to grow long, a symbol of dignity and of wisdom (cf. sadhu). The nations in the east generally treated their beards with great care and veneration, and the punishment for licentiousness and adultery was to have the beard of the offending parties publicly cut off. They had such a sacred regard for the preservation of their beards that a man might pledge it for the payment of a debt.
The Persians were fond of long beards. In Olearius' Travels, a King of Persia commands his steward's head to be cut off, and on its being brought to him, remarks, "what a pity it was, that a man possessing such fine mustachios, should have been executed," but he adds, "Ah! it was your own fault."
The ancient Greeks regarded the beard as a badge or sign of virility which it was a disgrace to be without; and in the Homeric time it had even a sanctity as among the Jews, so that a common form of entreaty was to touch the beard of the person addressed. It was only shaven as a sign of mourning, though in this case it was instead often left untrimmed. A smooth face was regarded as a sign of effeminacy. The Spartans punished cowards by shaving off a portion of their beards. From the earliest times, however, the shaving of the upper lip was not uncommon. Greek beards were also frequently curled with tongs.
In the time of Alexander the Great the custom of smooth shaving was introduced. Reportedly, Alexander ordered his soldiers to be clean shaven, fearing that their beards would serve as handles for their enemies to grab and to hold the soldier as he was killed. The practice of shaving spread from the Macedonians, whose kings are represented on coins, etc. with smooth faces, throughout the whole Greek world. Laws were passed against it, without effect, at Rhodes and Byzantium; and even Aristotle, we are told, conformed to the new custom, unlike the other philosophers, who retained the beard as a badge of their profession. A man with a beard after the Macedonian period implied a philosopher, and we have many allusions to this custom of the later philosophers in such proverbs as: "The beard does not make the sage.
Still, beards remained rare among the Romans throughout the Late Republic and the early Principate. In a general way, in Rome at this time, a long beard was considered a mark of slovenliness and squalor. The censors L. Veturius and P. Licinius compelled M. Livius, who had been banished, on his restoration to the city to be shaved, and to lay aside his dirty appearance, and then, but not till then, to come into the Senate. The first time of shaving was regarded as the beginning of manhood, and the day on which this took place was celebrated as a festival. Usually, this was done when the young Roman assumed the toga virilis. Augustus did it in his twenty-fourth year, Caligula in his twentieth. The hair cut off on such occasions was consecrated to some god. Thus Nero put his into a golden box set with pearls, and dedicated it to Jupiter Capitolinus. The Romans, unlike the Greeks, let their beards grow in time of mourning; so did Augustus for the death of Julius Caesar. Other occasions of mourning on which the beard was allowed to grow were, appearance as a reus, condemnation, or some public calamity.
In the second century A.D. the Emperor Hadrian, according to Dion, was the first of all the Caesars to grow a beard; Plutarch says that he did it to hide scars on his face. This was a period in Rome of widespread imitation of Greek culture, and many other men grew beards in imitation of Hadrian and the Greek fashion. Until the time of Constantine the Great the emperors appear in busts and coins with beards; but Constantine and his successors to the end of the sixth century, with the exception of Julian, are represented as beardless.
In the 15th century, most European men were clean-shaven. Clergymen in 16th century England were usually clean shaven to indicate their celibacy. When a priest became convinced of the doctrines of the Protestant Reformation he would often signal this by allowing his beard to grow, showing that he rejected the tradition of the church and perhaps also its stance on clerical celibacy. The longer the beard, the more striking the statement. Sixteenth century beards were therefore suffered to grow to an amazing length (see the portraits of John Knox, Bishop Gardiner and Thomas Cranmer). Some beards of this time were the Spanish spade beard, the English square cut beard, the forked beard, and the stiletto beard.
Strangely, this trend was especially marked during Queen Mary's reign, a time of reaction against Protestant reform (Cardinal Pole's beard is a good example). Queen Elizabeth I, succeeding Mary, is said to have disliked beards and therefore established a tax on them.
In urban circles of Western Europe and the Americas, beards were out of fashion after the early 17th century; to such an extent that, in 1698, Peter the Great of Russia ordered men to shave off their beards, and in 1705 levied a tax on beards in order to bring Russian society more in line with contemporary Western Europe.
Throughout the 18th century beards were unknown among most parts of Western society, especially the nobility and upper classes.
Beards returned strongly to fashion during the Napoleonic Era. Veterans of the French Emperor's Army were known as "Vieux Moustaches" (Old Moustaches), while greener conscripts were forbidden to grow them, thus making them especially coveted and prestigious. Throughout the nineteenth century facial hair (beards, along with long sideburns and moustaches) was more common than not. Many male European monarchs were bearded (e.g. Alexander III of Russia, Napoleon III of France, Frederick III of Germany), as were many of the leading statesmen and cultural figures (e.g. Benjamin Disraeli, Charles Dickens, Giuseppe Garibaldi, Karl Marx, Friederich Nietzsche and Giuseppe Verdi). The stereotypical Victorian male figure in the popular mind remains a stern figure clothed in black whose gravitas is added to by a heavy beard (or long sideburns). However, in the early twentienth century beards started a slow decline in popularity, while some prominent figures retained them (like Sigmund Freud, albeit severely shortened from the fashion of prior decades) most men which in the 20s and 30s still retained facial hair limited it to the moustache or a goatee (Marcel Proust, Albert Einstein, Vladimir Lenin, Leon Trotski, Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin) Beards, together with long hair, were reintroduced to mainstream society in Western Europe and the Americas by the hippie movement of the mid 1960s. By the end of the 20th century, the closely clipped Verdi beard, often with a matching integrated moustache, had become relatively common.
Following World War I, beards fell out of vogue. There are several theories as to why the military began shaving beards. When World War I broke out in the 1910s, the use of chemical weapons necessitated that soldiers shave their beards so that gas masks could seal over their faces. The enlistment of military recruits for World War I in 1914 precipitated a major migration of men from rural to urban locales. This was the largest such migration that had ever occurred in the United States up to that time. The rural lives of some of these bearded men included the "Saturday Night bath" as a reality rather than a humorism. The sudden concentration of recruits in crowded army induction centers brought with it disease, including head lice. Remedial action was taken by immediately shaving the faces and cutting the hair of all inductees upon their arrival.
When the war concluded in 1918 the "Doughboys" returned to a hero's welcome. During this time period the Film Industry was coming into its own and "going to the movies" became a popular pastime. Due to the recent Armistice many of the films had themes related to World War I. These popular films featured actors who portrayed soldiers with their clean shaven faces and "crew cuts". Concurrently, "Madison Avenue's" psychological mass marketing was becoming prevalent. The Gillette Safety Razor Company was one of these marketers' early clients. These events conspired to popularize short hair and clean shaven faces as the only acceptable style for decades to come.
From the 1920s to the early 1960s, beards were virtually nonexistent in mainstream America. The few men who wore the beard or portions of the beard during this period were either old, Central Europeans, members of a religious sect that required it, in academia, or part of the counterculture, such as the "beatniks".
Following the Vietnam War, beards exploded in popularity. In the mid-late 1960s and throughout the 1970s, beards were worn by hippies and businessmen alike. Popular rock, soul and folk musicians like The Beatles, Barry White and the male members of Peter, Paul, and Mary wore full beards. The trend of seemingly ubiquitous beards in American culture subsided in the mid 1980s.
One stratum of American society where facial hair is virtually nonexistent is in government and politics. The last President of the United States to wear any type of facial hair was William Howard Taft, who was in office nearly a century ago.
Vaishnava men, especially Gaudiya Vaishnava men, are encouraged to be clean-shaven as a sign of cleanliness. Sannyasis, or renunciates, are generally clean-shaven and keep a shaven head (except a small tail called a shikha).
The Bible states in Leviticus 19:27 that "Ye shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard." Talmudic rabbis understood this to mean that a man may not shave his beard with a razor with a single blade, since the cutting action of the blade against the skin "mars" the beard. Because scissors have two blades, halakha (Jewish law) permits their use to trim the beard, as the cutting action comes from contact of the two blades and not the blade against the skin. For this reason, most poskim (Jewish legal decisors) rule that Orthodox Jews may use electric razors to remain cleanshaven, as such shavers cut by trapping the hair between the blades and the metal grating, halakhically a scissor-like action. Some prominent contemporary poskim maintain that electric shavers constitute a razor-like action and consequently prohibit their use.
Many Orthodox Jews grow beards for social and cultural reasons. Since the electric razor is a relatively modern innovation, virtually all Orthodox Jews grew beards before its advent. Beards are thus symbolic of keeping the traditions of one's ancestors. The Zohar, one of the primary sources of Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism), attributes holiness to the beard, specifying that hairs of the beard symbolize channels of subconscious holy energy that flows from above to the human soul. Therefore, most Hasidic Jews, for whom Kabbalah plays an important role in their religious practice, traditionally do not remove or even trim their beards.
Also, some Jews refrain from shaving during the 30-day mourning period after the death of a close relative, known in Hebrew as the "Sheloshim" (thirty).
In Eastern Christianity, beards are often worn by members of the priesthood, and at times have been required for all believers - see Old Believers. Amish and Hutterite men shave until they are married, then grow a beard and are never thereafter without one, although it is a particular form of a beard (see Visual markers of marital status). Many Syrian Christians from Kerala in India use to wear long beards.
Nowadays, members of many Catholic religious communities, mainly those of Franciscan origin, use a beard as a sign of their vocation. At various times in its history the Catholic Church permitted and prohibited facial hair. Some Messianic Jews also wear beards to show their observance of the Old Testament.
In contemporary Muslim practice a longer beard is associated with Sunnis, a more closely trimmed beard with Shia Muslims. Accordingly, in Iraq where ethnic cleansing has taken place to make districts all-Sunni or all-Shi'a, members of the local minority adjust their beard style to avoid recognition.
According to the majority opinions in the four major Sunni schools of jurisprudence, a beard is mandatory for all men, unless they have a medical reason not to grow one. Minority opinions exist in all four schools that the beard is optional, but commendable.
Muhammad also was quoted as saying that growing the beard is part of the Abrahamic tradition that Muslims have inherited. Muslims believe that Allah commanded Abraham to keep his beard, shorten his mustache, clip his nails, shave the hair around his genitals, and pluck his armpit hair.
The 20th century American jazz drummer and bandleader Buddy Rich famously fired members of his band for wearing beards. Dusty Hill and Billy Gibbons of the famous rock band ZZ Top are also renowned for having very distinctive facial hair. Ironically, ZZ Top's drummer Frank Beard (called "Rube Beard" on earlier albums) is the one member of the group who, despite his surname, and sporting a mustache since the early days of the band, does not wear a beard. Alternative Folk musician Sam Beam, better known as Iron & Wine, is known for always sporting a full beard.
The Beatles, notably John Lennon (see Abbey Road cover), George Harrison, Paul McCartney (during the sessions for Let It Be), and Ringo Starr who also had a beard during Abbey Road and through till the present, sported full beards in the last days of the band. Jim Morrison also sported a beard in the last few years of his life, but a few times shaved it off, as in his last days.
Leland Sklar, a prolific session bass guitar player, is noted for his long hair and a long flowing beard. In the past few years ex-Nirvana drummer and Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl has famously sported a beard.
Full-time missionaries are clean-shaven as a matter of policy. Bishops and stake presidents are strongly encouraged not to grow facial hair. Students at Brigham Young University adhere to an Honor Code containing Dress and Grooming Standards. This includes the following language: "If worn, moustaches should be neatly trimmed and may not extend beyond or below the corners of the mouth. Men are expected to be clean shaven; beards are not acceptable." Exceptions are made for BYU students who must keep their beard for medical reasons. While such exceptions once applied to religious reasons as well, such is not the current administrative stance of BYU.
The Cincinnati Reds, Major League Baseball's oldest existing team, had a longstanding enforced policy where all players had to be completely clean shaven (no beards, long sideburns or moustaches). However, this policy was abolished following the sale of the team by Marge Schott.
In Irish soccer a ban on beards has been in place since 2005, when Beechlawn Rovers defender David Murray pulled Chanel striker Ricky Bobby down by his beard when he was clear through on goal. It was feared by the Irish Premier League that this practice would continue; therefore a ban was placed on growing facial hair longer than two inches.
Under owner George Steinbrenner, the New York Yankees baseball team has had a strict dress code that forbids long hair and facial hair below the lip. More recently, Willie Randolph and Joe Girardi, both former Yankee assistant coaches, adopted a similar clean-shaven policy for their ballclubs; the New York Mets and Florida Marlins, respectively. Fredi Gonzalez, who replaced Girardi as the Marlins' manager, dropped that policy when he took over after the 2006 season.
Playoff beard is a tradition common on some teams in the NHL and now in other leagues wherein players allow their beards to grow from the beginning of the playoff season until the playoffs are over for their team.
Personnel with beards may still be required to modify or shave off the beard, as environmental or tactical circumstances dictate (e.g., to facilitate the wearing of a gas mask).
Beards are also allowed to be worn by personnel conducting OPFOR duties.
However, within the Foreign Legion, sappers (combat engineers) are traditionally encouraged to grow a large beard.
The gendarmes, also by tradition, may grow a moustache.
According to German military tradition, soldiers should not have beards, only moustaches. Therefore this form of facial hair is still the only one allowed to members of the so-called Wachbataillon (Guard Battalion), which is deployed for solely protocol-related duties. Likewise, superior officers are rarely seen with large beards.
If a soldier has obtained permission to grow a beard, the beard must either be:
In the Royal Netherlands Army, officers and soldiers may only grow beards after permission has been obtained. As in many other armies, medical conditions can mean automatic permission to grow one and not shave. Moustaches may be grown without asking permission. Beards are worn at times by the Royal Netherlands Marines and by Royal Netherlands Navy personnel. All facial hair in the Netherlands armed forces is subject to instant removal when operational circumstances demand it. Recent operations in Afghanistan under the ISAF have seen a trend of growing "tour beards", both for bonding and as a way of advancing contacts with the Afghan population, who regard a full beard as a sign of manhood. A beard without a moustache is uncommon in The Netherlands.
Also, those with pseudofolliculitis barbae or severe acne are allowed to maintain neatly trimmed beards with a doctor's or medic's permission.