Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Roots of American Order Book Club

 Chapter VI - The Light of the Middle Ages 

Reading along with Cindy and others, I hope our conversation informs and inspires.  

Here's my *orderly* synopsis ~

Origins = 
Gallia est divisa in tres partes: Normans, Anglo-Saxons, and Franks.  Toss seafaring Norse/Vikings into the mix and we can all trace our roots.  These folks conquered the island, if you will, and established a town.

Situated on a large navigable river, London became The Center not only for the administration of Roman authority in faraway Britannia, but also for the development of commerce:  a "nation of shopkeepers" spawning sailors, soldiers, lawgivers, and poets.

Rule of Law = The law, which is no respecter of persons, stands supreme.  This legality cannot be overstated.  The rule was hard-won, but it illuminated the Dark Ages. The Roman Corpus Juris, the English De Legibus Angliae, and Sir William Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England are featured in this section.  Coupled with the development and refinement of common law, The Reign continues today, albeit encumbered.  Those who ignore the law harm society and themselves.  Sometime those who stand up for the law get hurt.

Declarations  = Documents like the Magna Carta and lesser writs addressing parliaments, impeachment, electors, contracts, and taxation gave birth to what is now known as representative government.  More Latin here - Quod omnes tangit ab omnibus approbetur - wise words with current application.  I hate to give Hollywood any credit for teaching history, but I have to mention the most recent Robin Hood movie (2010).  I really liked it because it dramatically drove home the plight of the people who sparked the signing of the Magna Carta.   Feudalism framed the vast canvas of this era.

Education = two English universities and three Scottish ones established during this period exist to this day.  Kirk's alma mater, St Andrew, boasts a small foundation writ large in America.  Providentially, I encountered Kirk at my alma mater, Hillsdale College.  The medieval university was an independent corporation unlike our modern ones whose hands are tied to government funding and whose policies promote diversity. Nowadays American institutions of higher learning do not resemble their origins.

Religious Crusaders = our squire-author is knight-errant himself in the fullest, most complimentary sense of both terms: a scholar and a gentleman engaged in adventure and tragedy (disappointment) whose object was to rescue his country and faith from invaders within and without.  Heroes from this era inspired American leaders like Sir Walter Raleigh, Captain John Smith, President George Washington, and General Robert E Lee.  These stories make interesting biographies.

We are at the halfway point, having read six of the twelve chapters.  Here's a link to our schedule.

Hope you will join the conversation (link).


  1. Quod omnes tangit ab omnibus approbetur, "That which touches all must be approved by all." Very nice -- had to google it though.

    I'm still in the chapter on Rome, but I'm enjoying it so much -- so glad I decided to read it. It's given us a lot to talk about at home.

    1. The explanation that goes with that communique was particularly insightful, Kelly. You will nod, when you get to that portion of the chapter ;-)