Inventing the People: The Rise of Popular Sovereignty in England and America

Edmund S. Morgan, Author W. W. Norton & Company $18.95 (318p) ISBN 978-0-393-02505-7
For Morgan, popular sovereigntygovernment of, by and for the peopleis a myth. Professor emeritus of history at Yale, he argues, in effect, that representative democracy is a tool to bolster rule by the powerful few over the many; the majority are thus led to believe they control their own destiny. In this quietly subversive rereading of our history, American colonists perfected the fiction of popular rule by involving voters in extravagant electoral campaigns and by insisting that elected representatives derived their power from their constituents. Meanwhile, elitist colonial rulers who owned considerable property pulled strings to get their way. Earlier, in England, members of the House of Commons and reformers challenged another governing fictionthe divine right of kingsand in so doing paved the way for popular sovereignty. Morgan offers a thought-provoking look at how the founding fathers assumed power. (April)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1988
Release date: 04/01/1988
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-393-30623-1
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-0-393-34749-4
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