Much of what is written in the ‘Great Charter’ is not relevant to society today but the following clause established the fundamental principle of the rule of law, which states that no man, not even the king, shall be above the law. This led eventually to parliamentary democracy.
No free man shall be taken or imprisoned, or dispossessed or outlawed or exiled or in any way ruined, nor will we go or send against him except by the lawful judgement of his peers or by the law of the land.
Saxons whose social and political ethos would come to dominate post-Roman England were “free, and they put such restrictions on the authority of their kings, that they were properly only chiefs or generals. Thus…they never endured the yoke of the conqueror.” They so fiercely resisted tyrannical power that one Roman general was driven to remark that the Saxons fought as if “life without liberty is a curse.”
The principles that it came to symbolize would become the foundation of freedom of every English-speaking nation. The ideas it represented would create such monumental documents as the Declaration of Rights of 1688, the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution of the United States. Documents that are at the heart of what we consider today to be fundamental human rights.
…while the common people of most of Europe suffered under the servitude and the wretchedness of the poverty produced by absolutism, the ideas encapsulated in the Magna Carta kept economic and political freedom in England alive. This would allow the English-speaking peoples to create the first nation-state, to establish the first modern government, be the first to industrialize, and, with final victory over absolutist Spain and authoritarian France, dominate the world for the next 400 years. Thus, making the rights of Englishmen rights that many people all around the world take for granted as being “universal”.
If the free nations of the world forget or undervalue the significance of Magna Carta that underpins their constitutions and their liberties they are in danger of opening themselves to the plagues of arbitrary power once again. That's why Magna Carta matters.