This book tells the story of freedom and explains how it is a uniquely ‘British’, rather than ‘Western’, invention. It shows how the inhabitants of a damp island at the western tip of the Eurasian landmass stumbled upon the extraordinary idea that the state was the servant, and not the master, of the individual.
This revolutionary concept created security of property and contract which, in turn, led to industrialization and modern capitalism. For the first time in the history of the species, a system grew up which, on the whole, rewarded production over predation. The system was carried across the oceans by English-speakers – sometimes colonial administrators, sometimes patriotic settlers – where in Philadelphia 1787, it was distilled into its purest and most sublime form as the US Constitution.
Freedom is the key to the success of the English-speaking peoples and this book teaches us to keep fast to that legacy and, in our turn, to pass it intact to the next generation.