From Publishers Weekly
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.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“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)
“[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)