Posted by Lexington Green on November 25th, 2013 (All posts by Lexington Green)
The long awaited book by Daniel Hannan, entitled Inventing Freedom: How the English-Speaking Peoples Made the Modern World.
My copy arrived last week, and I am more than eager to read it.
The blurb for the book says:
British politician Daniel Hannan’s Inventing Freedom is an ambitious account of the historical origin and spread of the principles that have made America great, and their role in creating a sphere of economic and political liberty that is as crucial as it is imperiled.
According to Hannan, the ideas and institutions we consider essential to maintaining and preserving our freedoms—individual rights, private property, the rule of law, and the institutions of representative government—are the legacy of a very specific tradition that was born in England and that we Americans, along with other former British colonies, inherited.
By the tenth century, England was a nation-state whose people were already starting to define themselves with reference to inherited common-law rights. The story of liberty is the story of how that model triumphed. How it was enshrined in a series of landmark victories—the Magna Carta, the English Civil War, the Glorious Revolution, the U.S. Constitution—and how it came to defeat every international rival.
Today we see those ideas abandoned and scorned in the places where they once went unchallenged. Inventing Freedom is a chronicle of the success of Anglosphere exceptionalism. And it is offered at a time that may turn out to be the end of the age of political freedom.
Mr. Hannan’s argument sounds terribly convincing! In fact, it is much the same argument that we make in America 3.0.
We previously post about the wonderful review of America 3.0 which Mr. Hannan wrote. As he noted, we draw on many of the same sources:
Here is a powerful and persuasive book. I confess to using the phrase “powerful and persuasive” in the sense that most bloggers do, to mean “agrees with me”. The authors have drawn on the same sources that I most frequently turn to: the brilliant Cambridge historian and anthropologist Alan Macfarlane; Oxford’s James Campbell, the supreme authority on late Anglo-Saxon England; David Hackett Fischer and Kevin Phillips, whose histories of the United States contextualise the great republic within the Anglosphere continuum. They have returned, too, to the foremost Victorians, notably Stubbs, Freeman and Maitland, who fell out of fashion during the twentieth century, but whose truths will endure when more recent interpretations have been found wanting. I think I also detect Macaulay’s elegant spoor, though he isn’t cited directly. And, of course, they pay due reverence to America’s founders, above all Jefferson – whose words were unfailingly wise, even if his deeds didn’t always match them.
One further influence on Mr. Hannan, cited in his book, is my coauthor James C. Bennett. Jim popularized the term “Anglosphere,” which first appeared in Neal Stephenson’s science fiction novel The Diamond Age.
Jim’s 2004 book The Anglosphere Challenge: Why the English-Speaking Nations Will Lead the Way in the Twenty-First Century is essential reading.