Author Archive

Peter Linebaugh

Peter Linebaugh, a historian currently residing in the region of the American Great Lakes, grew up amid the hopes and rubble of post-war London, was schooled by (among others) Anglicans in Karachi, Quakers in Swarthmore, and Cold Warriors in New York. Later he worked with E.P. Thompson at the Centre for the Study of Social History at the University of Warwick. Thompson's widow, Dorothy, the pre-eminent historian of Chartism, welcomed Peter's Magna Carta Manifesto when it was published by the University of California Press in 2008. That book contains William Morris' priceless account of 14th century peasant accounts of the death of King John, accounts which he is proud to perpetuate as history from below at its best.

    “No free man [homo liber] shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled, or deprived of his standing in any other way, nor will we proceed with force against him, or send others to do so, except by the lawful judgment of his equals or by the law of the land,” says Chapter 39 of Magna Carta. It put King John under law.  It should do the same to government now.  And, with an eye to the future and interpreting even more deeply, those last two phrases might lead to law that comes from equals and law that begins with land, not the state. A phrase from chapter 7 of …