(2) Its Legal Value. The value of the Charter [Magna Carta] as a whole, however, is more than a mere sum of the values of its separate parts. Its great importance lay, not in the exact terms of any or all of its provisions, but in the fact that it enunciated a definite body of law, claiming to be above the King’s will and admitted as such by John. As our supreme authorities say of Magna Carta: “For in brief it means this, that the King is, and shall be below the law.”4 The King, by granting the Charter, admitted that he was not an absolute ruler—that he had a master in the laws he had often violated, but which he now swore to obey. Magna Carta has thus been truly said to enunciate “the reign of law” or “rule of law” in the phrase made famous by Professor Dicey.1
Misc (Magna Carta), Magna Carta: A Commentary on the Great Charter of King John, with an Historical Introduction, by William Sharp McKechnie (Glasgow: Maclehose, 1914). Chapter: PART III.: MAGNA CARTA: ITS FORM AND CONTENTS.
Accessed from http://oll.libertyfund.org/title/338/48719 on 2013-12-12