The strict application of natural law

References and Further Reading 1. Two Kinds of Natural Law Theory At the outset, it is important to distinguish two kinds of theory that go by the name of natural law.

The strict application of natural law

Barker The Review of Metaphysics 66 September Since the Constitution was designed to be a practical-juridical document for the operation of a more effective government, one should not expect to find there the ringing statements of principle that characterize the Declaration of Independence, [5] and, indeed, no such philosophical statements are present.

But several important characteristics of the Constitution—indeed its most important characteristics—are clear and admirable applications of the Natural Law.

Before examining those characteristics of the Constitution, it is important to emphasize that the Natural Law as understood by the Founding Fathers of the Constitution was the Natural Law that for two millennia had been a traditional and essential element of Western Civilization; that is, Natural law as understood and explained by, for example, Sophocles, Aristotle, Cicero, St.

Thomas Aquinas, and Francisco de Vitoria. The fundamental difference between the classical-traditional understanding of the Natural Law and that of the Enlightenment is that the classical-traditional thinkers knew and declared that God is the author and source of the Natural Law, and that human reason is the faculty by which the Law established by God is made accessible to man, while the philosophers of the Enlightenment who inspired the French Revolution rejected God as the author of the Natural Law, or diminished His significance, and elevated human reason, or its variants, such as the general will or a legislative majority, to the position of supremacy.

Let us examine the thinking of the four most influential delegates at the Convention. This duty is precedent, both in order of time and in degree of obligation, to the claims of Civil Society. This is what is called the law of nature…. Upon this law depend the natural rights of mankind.

The strict application of natural law

The sacred lights of mankind … are written, as with a sunbeam, in the whole volume of human nature, by the hand of Divinity itself, and can never be erased or obscured by mortal power….

No tribunal, no codes, no systems, can repeal or impair this law of God, for by his eternal law, it is inherent in the nature of things. That our Creator has a supreme right to prescribe a law for our conduct, and that we are under the most perfect obligation to obey that law, are truths established on the clearest and most solid principles….

There is only one source of superiority and obligation. God is our creator: Hence our dependence on our Creator: This is the true source of all authority…. The law of nature is universal.

For it is true, not only that all men are equally subject to the command of their Maker; but it is true also, that the law of nature, having the foundation in the constitution and state of man, has an essential fitness for all mankind, and binds them without distinction.

This law, or right reason, as Cicero calls it, … is, indeed, … a true law, conformable to nature, diffused among all men, unchangeable, eternal. In his first year as President of the United States, he issued a Thanksgiving Proclamation that began this way: However, as a coauthor of the Declaration of Independence, the drafter of the Massachusetts Constitution ofand the leading American political thinker of the day, his prompt and unwavering support for the proposed new national Constitution was a significant factor in its ratification.

The moral government of God, and his vice regent, Conscience, ought to be sufficient to restrain men to obedience, to justice, and benevolence at all times and in all places; we must therefore descend from the dignity of our nature when we think of civil government at all.

But the nature of mankind is one thing, and the reason of mankind another; and the first has the same relation to the last as the whole to a part. The passions and appetites are parts of human nature as well as [are] reason and the moral sense. In the institution of government it must be remembered that, although reason ought always to govern individuals, it certainly never did since the Fall, and never will till the Millennium; and human nature must be taken as it is, as it has been, and will be.

It should be remembered that a large number of the delegates to the Constitutional Convention were educated in the law, and that most of those were in fact practicing lawyers.

In that most influential work, Blackstone says the following: This law of nature, being co-eval with mankind and dictated by God himself, is of course superior in obligation to any other.

It is binding all over the globe, in all countries, and at all times: But in order to apply this to the particular exigencies of each individual, it is still necessary to have recourse to reason, whose office it is to discover, as was before observed, what the law of nature directs in every circumstance of life….

Definition of Natural Law

And it appears in our books, that in many cases, the common law will controul Acts of Parliament, and sometimes adjudge them to be utterly void; for when an Act of Parliament is against common right and reason, or repugnant, or impossible to be performed, the common law will controul it, and adjudge such Act to be void ….

Because … [such statutes] would be against common right and reason, the common law adjudges the said Act of Parliament as to that point void ….

Americans inherited their law as they inherited their language and their political institutions…. Resourceful and ingenious in politics, Americans were content in the legal field to abide by familiar formulas…. In the realm of private law Americans took over the common law, and in the realm of public law the natural law….

This strength and persistence of natural law is one of the most arresting phenomena in American intellectual history. The common law is our birthright, and inheritance, and … our ancestors brought hither with them upon their emigration all of it, which was applicable to their situation.

The whole structure of our present jurisprudence stands upon the original foundations of the common law. In their minds natural law and English history were allied.

In this regard, two facts are important:Natural law theory is a legal theory that recognizes the connection between the law and human morality. This lesson explores some of the principles of the natural law theory, as well as provides. Natural Law and the United States Constitution Dr.

The strict application of natural law

Robert S. Barker The Review of Metaphysics 66 (September ): Natural Law and the United States Constitution. Natural Law and the English Common Law was so close and profound that the latter was understood to be but the practical application of the former. Natural law This refers to the moral laws of god which has been built into human nature, it's also a reflection of the Eternal law.

However, it can be seen by everyone as it . The law classifies three basic types of strict liability torts, though a plaintiff may argue that another situation, which does not fall within this list, falls under the umbrella of absolute liability.

The strict application of Natural Law goes against common sense Natural law is a theory that if we use reason, we can apply an eternal and absolute moral law - The Strict Application of Natural Law Goes Against Common Sense introduction.

Aquinas believed that the application of this law can help us discover our purpose. Natural law is the philosophy that certain rights, moral values, and responsibilities are inherent in human nature, and that those rights can be understood through simple reasoning.

Natural Law | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy