Summoning Magna Carta: Freedom’s Symbol Over a Millennium, is the follow-up to Magna Carta: The Tax Revolt That Gave Us Liberty, written by John Roskam and Chris Berg, and released in 2015 for the 800th anniversary of the momentous events at Runnymede. While that volume traced the important link between resistance to arbitrary taxation and the emergence of political liberty, this book looks at the Charter’s broader history as one answer to such fundamental questions as: Where do we find our freedom? How do we protect the rights of the individual against the attacks and encroachments of the state, from tyranny, and from anarchy?
It is a marvellous effort, and will be of enormous use, particularly (but not only) to those coming to the subject for the first time.” – Henry Ergas
The Great Charter’s answer is that freedom can be found in history and custom, in the time-honoured wisdom of our forebears. Magna Carta was and is a powerful symbol of our collective past, which over the centuries has been repeatedly invoked to demand freedom in the present. It is an incredibly successful example of the Burkean idea of grounding liberty in tangible lived experience, rather than in abstract theory.
You can learn more about – and purchase – the book at ipamagnacarta.org.au.
Pictured: The American Bar Association built the Magna Carta memorial in Runnymede in 1957 to commemorate the Great Charter as a symbol of freedom under law.
Photo: Antony McCallum