Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Magna Carta, the Rule of Law and the Limits on Government

Fernandez-Villaverde, Jesus (2015): Magna Carta, the Rule of Law and the Limits on Government.

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Abstract

This paper surveys the legal tradition that links Magna Carta with the modern concepts of the rule of law and the limits on government. It documents that the original understanding of the rule of law included substantive commitments to individual freedom and limited government. Then, it attempts at explaining how and why such commitments were lost to a formalist interpretation of the rule of law from 1848 to 1939. The paper concludes by arguing how a revival of the substantive commitments of the rule of law is central in a project of reshaping modern states.

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