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Preface to the Liberty Fund Edition - Ellis Sandoz, The Roots of Liberty: Magna Carta, Ancient Constitution, and the Anglo-American Tradition of Rule of Law 
The Roots of Liberty: Magna Carta, Ancient Constitution, and the Anglo-American Tradition of Rule of Law, edited and with an Introduction by Ellis Sandoz (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2008).
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Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The copyright to this edition, in both print and electronic forms, is held by Liberty Fund, Inc. except for the translations into English of Fortescue made by S.B. Chrimes which is held by Cambridge University Press 1942.
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The editor offers grateful acknowledgment to Liberty Fund, Inc., for support of the symposium which occasioned the inquiry precipitating the contents of this book in initial draft. The editor also acknowledges with thanks permission to quote from Sir John Fortescue, De Laudibus Legum Angliae, translated and edited by S. B. Chrimes, © 1942 Cambridge University Press. Excerpts from the English translation reprinted by permission of the publisher.
Salus populi suprema lex est, et libertas popula summa salus populi
(The welfare of the people is the supreme law and the liberty of the people the greatest welfare of the people).
It is an undoubted and fundamental point of this so ancient common law of England, that the subject hath a true property in his goods and possessions, which doth preserve as sacred that meum et tuum that is the nurse of industry, and mother of courage, and without which there can be no justice, of which meum et tuum is the proper object.
—Sir Dudley Digges
There is one nation in the world whose Constitution has political Liberty for its direct purpose.
The Rights of Magna Charta depend not on the Will of the Prince, or the Will of the Legislature; but they are inherent natural Rights of Englishmen: secured and confirmed they may be by the Legislature, but not derived from nor dependent on their Will.
—Philalethes [Elisha Williams]
Preface to the Liberty Fund Edition
It is with pleasure that I write a few prefatory lines for Liberty Fund’s reissue of The Roots of Liberty just twenty years after the symposium at Windsor Castle, which first elicited the scholarly studies the book contains. The devotion to liberty under law that is a hallmark of Anglo-American civilization and free government is nowhere symbolized with greater authority than in Magna Carta and the ancient constitution of which it is the noblest monument. The American constitutional tradition of which we so admiringly speak is grounded in the words and deeds brought together in this abiding centerpiece of our heritage as free men, the very liber homo announced by Magna Carta.
As conference director, discussion leader, contributor, and editor of the book, I take satisfaction in seeing a new edition appear. Furthermore, the conference itself spurred participants to renewed examination of the complex subject matter we addressed.
The impetus of our discussions can be traced in numerous publications since we deliberated at Windsor in 1988. Representative among these is Sir James Holt’s new edition of Magna Carta (2d edition; Cambridge University Press, 1992), with its sustained attention to the meaning of nullus liber homo, a point of our puzzlement in discussion; and there is John Phillip Reid’s The Ancient Constitution and the Origins of Anglo-American Liberty (Northern Illinois University Press, 2005), which expands chapter four of the present volume. My own efforts in the meanwhile directly continue the analysis begun then in chapters six and seven of The Politics of Truth (University of Missouri Press, 1999), which deal with Sir John Fortescue and with American religion and higher law.
This new edition is both valuable in itself and timely. With our millennial institutions of freedom and unique devotion to individual human worth and dignity under unremitting assault, we face an ideological and international conflict whose end and outcome lie nowhere in sight, beyond a horizon bounded by the iron curtain of the future. The Roots of Liberty can be one small help in guiding our passage through the perplexities of these treacherous times.
September 11, 2007