For the eight hundredth anniversary of the Magna Carta, the University of Virginia Press presents the first paperback edition of The Road from Runnymede by A. E. Dick Howard, originally published in 1968. In this volume, Howard explores the ways in which Magna Carta’s concepts, most notably due process, have been absorbed and put into practice by English and especially American society. He goes on to show how the idea of constitutional government evolved in America, moving beyond the foundations laid by Magna Carta to adapt itself to the new republic’s needs.
In The Road from Runnymede Professor Howard probes the impact of Magna Carta on the ordering of society and the liberty of the individual. Poignantly, the author relates how the Magna Carta has served as a potent device, repeatedly invoked to shield individual freedom from arbitrary government within an orderly framework.... The Road from Runnymede is a valuable addition to the body of material written about Magna Carta.
[Howard] has given the idea of Magna Carta a kind of personal history, followed its changing fortunes, sensed both its frailty and its capacity to endure, and perceived in its generalized and abstract nature the potential for great growth.... He has made a welcome contribution to the literature of constitutionalism.
The Road from Runnymede is engagingly written and will appeal to laymen and lawyers. Students of public address will find this a brilliant synthesis merging rhetorical criticism and constitutional history.
A. E. Dick Howard, author of Commentaries on the Constitution of Virginia, among other works, is the White Burkett Miller Professor of Law and Public Affairs at the University of Virginia.