- Narrated by: Joshua Saxon
- Length: 12 hrs and 45 mins
- Release date: 12-19-23
Sovereign of a Free People By James H. Read AudioBook summary
When Abraham Lincoln was sworn into office, seven slave states had preemptively seceded rather than recognize the legitimacy of his election. His immediate purpose was to argue against the legitimacy of a powerful minority forcibly partitioning the United States because it was dissatisfied with the results of a free, constitutionally conducted election. His wider purpose was to make the case that a deliberate, constitutionally checked majority, though by no means infallible, was the appropriate ultimate authority not only on routine political questions but even on the kind of difficult, deeply divisive questions—like the future of slavery—that could otherwise trigger violent contests.
Sovereign of a Free People examines Lincoln’s defense of majority rule, his understanding of its capabilities and limitations, and his hope that slavery could be peacefully and gradually extinguished through the action of a committed national majority. James Read argues that Lincoln offered an innovative account of the interplay between majorities and minorities in the context of crosscutting issues and shifting public opinion.