Once upon a time in the West, the law was determined by, enforced, and adjudicated by the ruler. But the ruler was not subject to the law. He or she was placed above the law. The ruler was sovereign and considered immune, with a divine source of power…

Two things happened. The nobility – which had to pick up the tab for and fight the sovereign’s wars – became fed up with the capricious exercise of royal power. This is what the great Magna Carta Libertatum agreed to by King John at Runnymede in 1215 was all about. It would take a few more centuries however for the West to land on the idea that the sovereign was a subject of law, and that the source of their power was not divine, but derived from the governed.

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