Inventing the People by Edmund S. Morgan
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Inventing the People
By Edmund S. Morgan

Inventing the People

The Rise of Popular Sovereignty in England and America

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Format: Paperback

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Inventing the People by Edmund S. Morgan

Book Awards

  • Winner of Bancroft Prizes 1989.

Book Description

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.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780393306231
ISBN-10: 0393306232
Format: Paperback
(196mm x 134mm x 22mm)
Pages: 320
Imprint: WW Norton & Co
Publisher: WW Norton & Co
Publish Date: 7-Mar-1990
Country of Publication: United States

Other Editions...


Books By Author Edmund S. Morgan

Genuine Article by Edmund S. Morgan Genuine Article, Paperback (January 2013)

"A masterly quarter-century of commentary on the discipline of American history."-Allen D. Boyer, New York Times Book Review

Birth of the Republic, 1763-89 by Edmund S. Morgan Birth of the Republic, 1763-89, Paperback (January 2013)

Part of the "Chicago History of American Civilization" series, which provides a nuanced and vibrant portrait of the United States from its inception through the twentieth century.

American Heroes by Edmund S. Morgan American Heroes, Paperback (June 2010)

"A wise, humane and beautifully written book."-Bret Stephens, Wall Street Journal

Not Your Usual Founding Father by Edmund S. Morgan Not Your Usual Founding Father, Paperback (January 2008)

Reveals Benjamin Franklin's human side, his tastes and habits, his enthusiasms, and his devotion to democracy and the people of the United States. Drawing on life-long research in the vast Franklin archives, this book includes lesser-known writings that offer insights into this founding father's thinking.

» View all books by Edmund S. Morgan

Reviews

US Kirkus Review » A new interpretation of the rise of the "rule of the people" in England and America, by the distinguished revolutionary historian Morgan (American History/Yale), author of The Genius of George Washington (1981) and a dozen others. One of Morgan's strengths as a historian is his ability to recognize the seeds of a trend in an ironic counter-trend. In the past, for instance, he has argued that the juxtaposition of slavery and the idea of freedom was actually logical, for by curtailing the growth of a discontented white laboring class, slavery nourished white representative government. Similarly, here Morgan argues that the old concept of the divine right of kings was in fact the seedbed of popular control of government. In some trenchantly argued essays, the author elaborates on this theme. For example, the adversaries of King Charles I used the "divine right" concept to oust his most egregious advisors, reasoning that since the king was divine and could not be corrupted, it was their duty to save him from bad counsellors. From there, the "slippery slope" ultimately led to a weakened king, a ruling Parliament, and what Morgan calls the "fiction" of popular control in America. The author claims that the shared belief in this "fiction" binds our country - even though what really happened in 1787 was that the Founding Fathers "invented" the idea of an American people and "imposed" a government on them. Although Morgan's final argument is a bit strained - the "people," after all, had to vote to ratify their new government - this is, overall, a well-constructed historical argument. (Kirkus Reviews)


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Author Biography - Edmund S. Morgan

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.

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