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

Inventing the People: The Rise of Popular Sovereignty in England and America By Edmund S. Morgan Cover Image

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

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"The best explanation that I have seen for our distinctive combination of faith, hope and naiveté concerning the governmental process." —Michael Kamman, Washington Post


This book makes the provocative case here that America has remained politically stable because the Founding Fathers invented the idea of the American people and used it to impose a government on the new nation. His landmark analysis shows how the notion of popular sovereignty—the unexpected offspring of an older, equally fictional notion, the "divine right of kings"—has worked in our history and remains a political force today.
Edmund S. Morgan (1916–2013) was the Sterling Professor Emeritus at Yale University and the recipient of the National Humanities Medal, the Pulitzer Prize, and the American Academy’s Gold Medal. The author of The Genuine Article; American Slavery, American Freedom; Benjamin Franklin; and American Heroes, among many others.
Product Details ISBN: 9780393306231
ISBN-10: 0393306232
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Publication Date: September 17th, 1989
Pages: 320
Language: English
[A] provocative new study. . . . In a series of brilliant chapters, [Morgan] probes the myths that sustained eighteenth-century American notions of liberty.
— Keith Thomas - New York Review of Books

Edmund S. Morgan . . . [is] a man with a rare gift for telling the story of the past simply and elegantly without sacrificing its abundant complexity. . . . The story he tells is of enormous interest and importance.
— Pauline Meier - New York Times Book Review