- obey "The Laws of Nature and of
Our nation's Declaration
of Independence, the charter that created the United States of
America, contains these words:
in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people
to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with
another, and to assume among the Powers of the earth, the separate
and equal station to which the Laws of
Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent
respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should
declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that
all men are created equal, that they are endowed
by their Creator with
certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty,
and the pursuit of Happiness.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united
States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing
to the Supreme Judge of the world
for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and
by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly
publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right
ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved
from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political
connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and
ought to be totally dissolved. . . . And for the support of
this Declaration, with a firm reliance on
the Protection of Divine Providence,
we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our
The Declaration of Independence was a
history-changing declaration that powerful, intrusive government was
contrary to "the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God,"
and that the People had a God-given right to a more libertarian system
Our Founding Fathers fought against tax rates which scholars estimate
were about 3-5%. Today's taxes are ten times higher, and
our Founding Fathers would feel betrayed that we have lost what they
But more important than taxes is character. America's Founding
Fathers believed that religion and morality were more important than low
taxes. In fact, they believed that high taxes and
tyrannical government was a symptom of
the absence of religion and morality. One of America's most
important founding charters had this requirement for the Northwest
morality, and knowledge, being necessary to
good government and the happiness of mankind . .
. shall forever be encouraged."
Congress subsequently applied this requirement to the Southern
Territory and the Missouri Territory when parts of those territories
joined the Union as states.
The Court requires government at all
levels to maintain a neutrality between theism and non-theism which
results, in practical effect, in a governmental preference of the
religion of agnostic secularism. Justice Brennan argued, in his
concurrence in the 1963 school prayer case, that the words
"under God" could still be kept in the Pledge of
Allegiance only because they "no longer have a religious
purpose or meaning." Instead, according to Brennan they
"may merely recognize the historical fact that our Nation was
believed to have been founded 'under God." [Abington School
District v. Schempp, 374 U.S. 203, 304, (1963).] This false
neutrality would logically prevent an assertion by any government
official, whether President or school teacher, that the
Declaration of Independence—the first of the Organic
Laws of the United States printed at the head of the United
States Code—is in fact true when it asserts that men are endowed
"by their Creator" with certain unalienable rights and
when it affirms "the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God,"
a "Supreme Judge of the world" and "Divine
[return to text]
"The Constitution: Guarantor of
Derailing the Constitution: The Undermining of American Federalism,
edited by Edward B. McLean, Intercollegiate Studies Institute,
1997, pp. 155-56.
Today, however, the
federal judiciary has declared that religion and morality must not be
encouraged by any state in the union.
Notre Dame Professor of Law Charles E. Rice has observed (see box)
that under current Court interpretation, if a student asks a teacher if the
Declaration of Independence was really true when it spoke about God,
"Providence," and "the Laws of Nature and of Nature's
God," The teacher could not say "Yes, our nation is
based on these eternal truths." Presumably, no competent public school
teacher (?) would say, "No, America is just one big lie." So this
means that a school teacher can only say "I don't know" when asked
if the Declaration of Independence is true.
Not a single person who signed the Constitution
intended to prohibit a school teacher from telling students that the
Declaration of Independence was really true when it spoke about God,
"Providence," and "the Laws of Nature and of Nature's
The Court's decisions represent just the tip of
the iceberg. Below the surface are tens of millions of Americans who have
never read the Declaration of Independence and do not know what principles
America was built upon.
What did America's Founding Fathers mean when they spoke of "the
Laws of Nature and of Nature's God?"
John Locke (1632-1704) was a Christian philosopher who had a great
influence in America. He said:
[T]he Law of Nature stands as an eternal rule to all men, legislators
as well as others. The rules that they make for other men's actions must .
. . be conformable to the Law of Nature, i.e., to the will of God.
[L]aws human must be made according to the general laws of Nature, and without
contradiction to any positive law of Scripture, otherwise they are ill
Locke, Two Treatises on
Government, Bk II sec 135. (quoting Hooker's Ecclesiastical Polity,
1.iii, § 9 )
William Blackstone (1723-1780) was
cited more frequently than Locke by America's Founding Fathers. In 1810
Thomas Jefferson wryly commented that American lawyers used Blackstone's Commentaries
on the Laws of England with the same dedication and reverence that
Muslims used the Koran.
Blackstone described the Laws of Nature
and of Nature's God in a chapter in his Commentaries
the Nature of Laws in General." An excerpt is
found here. Among the highlights:
Man, considered as a creature, must
necessarily be subject to the laws of his Creator, for he is entirely a
dependent being. And consequently, as man depends absolutely upon his
Maker for everything, it is necessary that he should, in all points,
conform to his Maker's will.
This will of his Maker is called the law of nature.
This law of nature, being coeval [existing at
the same time - ed.] with mankind, and dictated by God himself, is
of course superior in obligation to any other. It is binding over all the
globe in all countries, and at all times: no human laws are of any
validity, if contrary to this; and such of them as are valid derive all
their force and all their authority, mediately or immediately, from this
original. The doctrines thus delivered we call the revealed or divine law,
and they are to be found only in the holy scriptures. These precepts, when
revealed, are found upon comparison to be really a part of the original
law of nature, as they tend in all their consequences to man's felicity
Upon these two foundations, the law of nature and the law of
revelation, depend all human laws; that is to say, no human laws should be
suffered to contradict these. [more]
The Chief Justice
of the Alabama Supreme Court recently
had an occasion to describe the influence of Blackstone and further
explain the meaning of the phrase "the Laws of Nature and of Nature's
|American law derives its principles
from the common law of England, clearly explained in Commentaries
on the Laws of England by Sir William Blackstone. In 1799,
Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, James Iredell,
charged the grand jury of the Circuit Court for the District of
Pennsylvania as follows:
"[F]or near 30 years [The Commentaries on the Laws
of England] has been the manual of almost every student of law
in the United States, and its uncommon excellence has also
introduced it into the libraries, and often to the favourite
reading of private gentlemen; so that [Sir William Blackstone's]
views of the subject could scarcely be unknown to those who framed
the Amendment to the Constitution, ...."
Claypoole's American Daily Advertiser, April
11, 1799, Philadelphia, 3 The Documentary History of the
Supreme Court of the United States, 1789-1800, at 347 (Maeva
Marcus, ed., Columbia University Press 1990) (emphasis added).
Because Blackstone's Commentaries was the manual for law
students in the United States during and after the revolutionary
period and the drafting of the United States Constitution, we should
consider his interpretations of common law not only as influential
but also as authoritative for applying the common law today.
Blackstone's explanation of the common law is important because
of the influence it has had upon the American legal system. In 1993,
Justice Antonin Scalia stated:
"The conception of the judicial role that [Chief Justice
John Marshall] possessed, and that was shared by succeeding
generations of American judges until very recent times, took it to
be 'the province and duty of the judicial department to say what
the law is,' Marbury v. Madison, 1 Cranch 137, 177
(1803) (emphasis added) -- not what the law shall be.
That original and enduring American perception of the judicial
role sprang not from the philosophy of Nietzsche but from the
jurisprudence of Blackstone, which viewed retroactivity as an
inherent characteristic of the judicial power, a power 'not
delegated to pronounce a new law, but to maintain and expound the
old one.' 1 W. Blackstone, Commentaries 69 (1765)."
Harper v. Virginia Dep't of Taxation, 509
U.S. 86, 107 (1993) (Scalia, J., concurring).
Natural law forms the basis of the common law.
(7) Natural law is the law of nature and of nature's God
as understood by men through reason, but aided by direct revelation
found in the Holy Scriptures:
"The doctrines thus delivered we call the
revealed or divine law, and they are to be found only in the Holy
Scriptures. These precepts, when revealed, are found upon
comparison to be really a part of the original law of nature, as
they tend in all their consequences to man's felicity."
1 William Blackstone, Commentaries
Blackstone's Commentaries explain that because our reason
is full of error, the most certain way to ascertain the law of
nature is through direct revelation. The ultimate importance of this
law and its influence upon our law cannot be understated.
"Upon these two foundations, the law of nature and the law
of revelation, depend all human laws; that is to say, no human
laws should be suffered to contradict these. There is, it is true,
a great number of indifferent points, in which both the divine law
and the natural leave a man at his own liberty; but which are
found necessary for the benefit of society to be restrained within
certain limits. And herein it is that human laws have their
greatest force and efficacy; for, with regard to such points as
are not indifferent, human laws are only declaratory of, and act
in subordination to, the former."
1 Blackstone, Commentaries 42.
There are impeccable American sources for the above proposition.
James Wilson, Associate Justice on the first United States Supreme
Court and signer of both the Declaration of Independence and the
United States Constitution, said:
"Human law must rest its authority ultimately upon the
authority of that law which is divine .... Far from being rivals
or enemies, religion and law are twin sisters, friends, and mutual
assistants. Indeed, these two sciences run into each other."
James Wilson, "Of the General Principles of
Law and Obligation," in 1 The Works of the Honourable
James Wilson, 104-06 (Bird Wilson ed., Bronson and Chauncey
John Jay, first Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court
and coauthor of the Federalist Papers, declared:
"[N]o sovereign ought to permit those who are under his
Command to violate the precepts of the Law of Nature, which
forbids all Injuries ...."
"John Jay's Charge to the Grand Jury of the
Circuit Court for the District of Virginia, May 22, 1793,
Richmond, Virginia." 2 The Documentary History of the
Supreme Court of the United States, 1789-1800, at 386 (Maeva
Marcus, ed., Columbia University Press 1988).
Our own Declaration of Independence refers to "the laws of
nature and of nature's God":
"When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary
for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have
connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the
earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of
nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect
to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the
causes which impel them to the separation." (Emphasis
It would be an odd logic to assert that the American colonies
could use the law of God "to dissolve the political bonds which
have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of
the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of
nature and of nature's God entitle them," but not to decide the
fundamental basis of their laws.
|7. There can be no
debate as to the connection between the common law and the
natural law. . . . Chief Justice Sir Christopher Wray
and the entire Court at King's Bench resolved a point of law
- "That in this point, as almost in
all others, the common law was grounded on the law of
- Ratcliff's Case, 76 Eng. Rep.
713, 726 (K.B. 1592). [back]
|8. Blackstone indicated
that one law was more reliable than the other:
- "If we could be as certain of the
[natural law] as we are of the [revealed law], both
would have an equal authority; but, till then, they can
never be put in any competition together."
- 1 William Blackstone, Commentaries
When a nation departs from "the Laws of Nature and of Nature's
God," crime obviously goes up, but so does government intrusion,
taxation, and violation of God-given rights.
We must return to the Founding Principles of America.
next: Campaign Finance, Corruption and the Oath