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The rule of law generally refers to the "authority and influence of law in society," especially as a constraint upon behavior, including behavior of government officials. This phrase is also sometimes used in other senses. In its general sense, the phrase can be traced back to the 16th century, and it was popularized in the 19th century by British jurist A. V. Dicey. The concept was familiar to ancient philosophers such as Aristotle, who wrote "Law should govern". Rule of law implies that every citizen is subject to the law. It stands in contrast to the idea that the ruler is above the law, for example by divine right. Despite wide use by politicians, judges and academics, the rule of law has been described as "an exceedingly elusive notion" giving rise to a "rampant divergence of understandings ... everyone is for it but have contrasting convictions about what it is." At least two principal conceptions of the rule of law can be identified: a formalist or "thin" definition, and a substantive or "thick" definition. Formalist definitions of the rule of law do not make a judgment about the "justness" of law itself, but define specific procedural attributes that a legal framework must have in order to be in compliance with the rule of law. Substantive conceptions of the rule of law go beyond this and include certain substantive rights that are said to be based on, or derived from, the rule of law. (via Freebase)