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"The Laws of Nature and of Nature's God" - The Ultimate Law

Franklin, John Adams and Jefferson writing the Declaration“The laws of nature are the laws of God, who's authority can be superseded by no power on earth.” --George Mason, (1725-1792), author of the Virginia Constitution and the Virginia Bill of Rights

“Every human law has just so much of the nature of law as is derived from the law of nature. But if at any point it deflects from the law of nature, it is no longer a law but a perversion of the law.” --Thomas Aquinas.

The opening paragraph of the Declaration of Independence in which Thomas Jefferson also provided the draft for the Declaration):

"When 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." The second paragraph continues: 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...."

What is the "new and improved" basis in determining how "Rights" are "entitled?" What new wisdom is being employed? Has the word "nature" also been redefined to a new an improved "politically correct" secular liberal definition which excludes "moral virtue," responsibility and commitment?

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“The Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God” provide an innate direction in adhering to and abiding by God’s design to live healthy, morally and socially in order to prevent the inevitable consequences as a result of inexcusably disobeying and acting outside the boundaries of God’s design of natural law.

The law of nature, being coeval 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 the original. --William Blackstone’s 1753 treatise “Commentaries on the Laws of England:”

"After reviewing an estimated 15,000 items, including newspaper articles, pamphlets, books, monographs, etc., written between 1760-1805 by the 55 men who wrote the constitution, Professors Donald S. Lutz and Charles S. Hyneman, in their work 'The Relative Influence of European Writers on Late Eighteenth-Century American Political Thought' revealed that the Bible, especially the book of Deuteronomy, contributed 34% of all quotations used by our Founding Fathers."2 "Additional sources the founders quoted took 60% of their quotes from the Bible. Direct and indirect citations combined reveal that the majority of all quotations referenced by the Founding Fathers are derived from the Bible."3

1. Florida v. City of Tampa, 48 So. 2d 78 (Fla. 1950); see also Commissioners of Johnson County v. Lacy, 93 S.E. 482, 487 (N.C. 1917) ("Our laws are founded upon the Decalogue).
2. William J. Federer, The Ten Commandments & their Influence on American Law (Amerisearch Inc. St. Louis, MO. 2003) p.19.
3. Ibid; p.19. Federer's sources are as follows: Donald S. Lutz and Charles S. Hyneman, "The Relative Influence of European Writers on Late Eighteenth-Century American Political Thought." American Political Science Review 189 (1984): 189-197. (Courtesy of Dr. Wayne House of Dallas Theological Seminary.) John Eidsmoe, Christianity and the Constitution -The Faith of Our Founding Fathers (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, A Mott Meida Book, 1987; 6th printing, 1993), pp. 51-53. Origions of American Constitutionalism, (1987). Stephen K. McDowell and Mark A. Beliles, America's Providential History (Charlottesville, VA: Providence Press, 1988), p. 156.


 

Below:
o "The Laws of Nature and of Nature's God"
o Proclaiming the Declaration of Independence

 

See also:
o
The U. S. Constitution & The Federalist Papers - First Prayer in Congress - Further Resources

o Did You Know?  Learn what you have not been taught and/or mislead about America's Heritage
o Comprehensive Government Resource Page
o Religious Affiliation of the Founding Fathers of the United States of America
o The Founding Fathers and Jesus
o The Bible and Government Biblical Principles: Basis for America's Laws
o Declaration of Independence (Archives.gov)
o United States Constitution (Archives.gov)

o Public Administration Explained: Branches of the US Government - The United States Constitution established the nation’s current system of government when it was signed in 1787. The government consists of three branches, and the power of the government is divided between them in a system of checks and balances so that no one branch is too powerful. The executive, legislative, and judicial branches work together to keep our government running smoothly and efficiently.
o The Three Branches of the United States Government - By Brian Joslyn - This article discusses the three branches of government in a really simplistic way. Easy for middle school and high school students to understand.

o The Myth of Three Co-Equal Branches of Government [VIDEO] James Madison, known as the father of the Constitution, stated in Federalist Paper 51:L “In republican government, the legislative authority necessarily predominates. The remedy for this inconveniency is to divide the legislature into different branches.” ...Congress’ authority predominates, which is why we have divided the power into two branches. ...If we place the number of authorities of each Branch found in the Constitution, we see the scale disproportionate with the Legislative Branch having roughly forty-eight powers, followed by the Executive Branch with roughly twelve powers, and in last place the Judicial Branch with roughly three powers. ...To add further credibility to the discriminate powers of Congress, we find they have power to impeach ANY member of the other two branches!

o What is the Federal Reserve? (Video 0:2:19)


"The Laws of Nature and of Nature's God"  

What is the Law of Nature’s God? BY BILL FORTENBERRY - These famous words form the opening paragraph of one of the most influential documents in all of human history – the American Declaration of Independence.  According to this paragraph, the American claim to independence was established upon “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God,” but what did Thomas Jefferson mean by this phrase?  Nearly all of the modern historians who have written about this phrase have accused Jefferson and the other signers of the Declaration of abandoning the God of the Bible and erecting a more deistic god of nature in His place. But this accusation is entirely false. Jefferson’s reference to the laws of nature and of nature’s God had a very specific meaning that was well understood by eighteenth century Americans. To understand what Jefferson meant by this phrase, we need to consider how it was used in the time leading up to the writing of the Declaration.

   ...Thomas Jefferson was a student of Lord Bolingbroke.  He first began studying Bolingbroke’s writings at the age of fourteen, and he read them again at the age of twenty-three as he was preparing for a career as a lawyer. Jefferson’s Literary Commonplace Book contains more quotations from Bolingbroke than from any other author, and I do not know of a single historian who has not given Bolingbroke the credit for Jefferson’s famous phrase regarding “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.” What these scholars keep hidden is the fact that Lord Bolingbroke provided a very specific definition for this phrase.

   ...In a renowned letter to Alexander Pope, Lord Bolingbroke wrote the following words which were to become the basis for Jefferson’s opening paragraph of the Declaration of Independence: “You will find that it is the modest, not the presumptuous enquirer, who makes a real, and safe progress in the discovery of divine truths. One follows nature, and nature’s God; that is, he follows God in his works, and in his word.” Here we find a definition from the very individual that all scholars recognize as the source of Jefferson’s phrase. According to Lord Bolingbroke, the law of nature’s God is the Law which is found in God’s Word.  This was the definition which was intended by Jefferson, and this was the manner in which his words were understood by our forefathers. The law of nature’s God upon which our nation was founded is nothing less than the Bible itself. (Click here for the complete resource.) 

 


 

Excerpts from this 1992 Plymouth Rock Foundation book The Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God: The Ultimate Law

The Laws of Nature and of Nature’s to which the founders turned was that which governed the very authority and purpose of civil government itself. –Herbert W. Titus 

The nation of the United States of America was founded on July 4, 1776, with the signing of the Declaration of Independence, not on September 17, 1787, the date of the signing of the United States Constitution and not in May 1790 when Rhode Island, the last of the original thirteen states ratified that Constitution. -- Herbert W. Titus 

The Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God reflect the Providential Hand at work in His created order. –Neil F. Markva 

There is God’s Law from which all equitable laws of man emerge and by which men must live if they are not to die in oppression, chaos and despair. –Cicero 

From William Blackstone’s 1753 treatise “Commentaries on the Laws of England:” Law, in its most general and comprehensive sense, signifies a rule of action; and is applied indiscriminately to all kinds of action, whether animate of inanimate, rational or irrational. …Man, considered as a creature, must necessarily be subject to the laws of his Creator, for he is entirely a dependent being…[A]s 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 laws of nature….

...When He created man, and endued him with freewill to conduct himself in all parts of life, he laid down certain immutable laws of human nature, whereby that freewill is in some degree regulated and restrained, and gave him also the faculty of reason to discover the purport of those laws.

…The law of nature, being coeval 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 the original.

…The doctrine thus delivered we call the revealed or divine law, and they are to be found only in the Holy Scriptures.  

Excerpts from a 1987 article in the Howard Law Journal by Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, who was at that time chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: “The best defense of limited government…” “…the ‘original intention of the Constitution’ was the fulfillment of the ideals of the Declaration of Independence.” …”A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law of the laws of God…An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law.” “…Without the guidance of the Declaration of Independence, Lincoln explained, the Constitution can be a mask for the most awful tyranny and no just over a particular race. With the Declaration as a backdrop, we can understand  the Constitution as the Founders understood it…”


Sen. Mike Lee Explains How the Declaration of Independence Makes America Exceptional - By Jarrett Stepman

   ...On this week’s episode, hosts Jarrett Stepman and Fred Lucas speak to Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, about the Declaration of Independence and how it makes America exceptional. Lee is the author of the new book “Our Lost Declaration: America’s Fight Against Tyranny From King George to the Deep State.”

   ...Stepman: So, we’ll go right into, why did you write this book? Obviously the Declaration of Independence is, well, I mean, it is the seminal event of American history. Why did you think that Americans need to recapture a lost Declaration?

   Lee: It’s occurred to me a lot lately that especially younger Americans are losing touch, they’re losing a connection with the principles of our founding. And I’ve written a couple of books about the Constitution. As I was writing those, it kept occurring to me, in order to fully understand, and implement, and protect, and defend the Constitution, you have to understand the Declaration.

   It’s as though we’ve got a picture on the wall. The frame is the Constitution, but the picture itself is the Declaration, it’s the what we’re trying to protect, it’s what the Constitution is there to protect. It states and identifies the inherent dignity of the human soul, and the rights of human beings as against government. That’s why we need to understand it.

   So, I wrote this book for all the parents and grandparents out there who know that their children and grandchildren aren’t getting the same education that they got in civics. This is to make it easier for them. 

 

President John Adams - "From the day of the Declaration . . .they [the American people] were bound by the laws of God, which they all, and by the laws of the Gospel, which they nearly all, acknowledge as the rules of their conduct." And, "From the day of the Declaration . . .they [the American people] were bound by the laws of God, which they all, and by the laws of the Gospel, which they nearly all, acknowledge as the rules of their conduct." - President John Adams  ...And, "[This] Form of Government is productive of every Thing which is great and excellent among Men. But its Principles are as easily destroyed, as human nature is corrupted. A Government is only to be supported by pure Religion or Austere Morals. Private and public Virtue is the only Foundation of Republics." -- John Adams, 2nd president of the United States of America (Warren-Adams Letters, Massachusetts Historical Society, 1917, Vol. 1, p. 222)

You Have No Rights Without Natural Law - Our rights as Americans are considered unalienable only because they were inherent in the natural order of life established by the laws of nature and nature’s God. - By Jim DeMint  - While musing on the writings of author and philosopher G.K. Chesterton in his personal notebook, a young John F. Kennedy wrote, “Don’t ever take a fence down until you know the reason why it was put up.” Fences hold things in we want to keep close, and protect us from things we want to keep out. But Chesterton and JFK were not making a point about physical fences. They were speaking of the ideas, principles, and institutions that surround the things that make life worth living, and protect us from threats to those things we value and love.   This is the sort of fence we are currently “taking down” in America. Since its inception, America has been surrounded and protected by a unique set of ideas that created the strongest, most prosperous, most secure and compassionate land of opportunity that has ever existed. These ideas were considered by America’s founders to be “self-evident” because they were based on the “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God” (from the first sentence of the Declaration of Independence).

The Democrat Party's candidate for President in the 1848 election was Lewis Cass, born OCTOBER 9, 1782: "Independent of its connection with human destiny hereafter, the fate of republican government is indissolubly bound up with the fate of the Christian religion, and a people who reject its holy faith will find themselves the slaves of their own evil passions and of arbitrary power."

Did America’s Founding Fathers believe in God? (PragerU) Were they Christians? Or were they just Deists? And why is it important? In this video, Joshua Charles, author and researcher at the Museum of the Bible, explains that, while men like Washington, Adams, Jefferson and Franklin each took different approaches to religion, all of them were steeped in the traditional Judeo-Christian values found in the Bible. But did their beliefs influence how they thought America should be governed? Watch the video at the link to find out.

America: A Christian or a Secularist Nation? - By David Barton - In a Boston Review article entitled “The Eternal Return of the Christian Nation,” Stanford history professor Richard White first belittles and then attempts to dispel what he terms the “myth” of a Christian nation. To prove his point, he opens his piece by quoting John Adams’ comment that: “It was never pretended that any persons employed in [drafting the founding documents] had interviews with the gods or were in any degree under the inspiration of heaven.” Ours was a government “founded on the natural authority of the people alone, without a pretense of miracle or mystery.” 1 This statement by Adams seems to affirm White’s position. Yet the story is not quite so simple. Indeed, White selectively quotes Adams to make him appear to say almost the opposite of what he actually said.

   By way of background, the quoted passages are from a single paragraph in the preface of Adams’ three-volume work, A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America, written in 1787 in response to British criticisms of the new American governments. In this work, Adams defends the recently drafted state constitutions (the federal Constitution had not yet been penned). To be properly understood, they must be viewed in the context of the full paragraph from which White takes them. Adams begins the paragraph in question by summarizing the pattern of human governments preceding the American Revolution. He observed that earlier governments had been imposed on the people rather than chosen by them, and that the primary means for accomplishing this coercion had been by invoking the authority of various gods.

   Adams explained: "It was the general opinion of ancient nations that the divinity alone was adequate to the important office of giving laws to men. The Greeks entertained this prejudice throughout all their dispersions; the Romans cultivated the same popular delusion; and modern nations, in the consecration of kings, and in several superstitious chimeras of divine right in princes and nobles, are nearly unanimous in preserving remnants of it. Even the venerable magistrates of Amersfort [a city in the province of Utrecht, Netherlands] devoutly believe themselves God’s vicegerents. Is it that obedience to the laws can be obtained from mankind in no other manner?" 2   

It’s the ‘Independence,’ Stupid By SCOTT OTT - ...in our time, many seem to think 'the Declaration' was penned to proclaim eternal verities about the human condition -- a poetic tribute to 'life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness' -- as if it were a collection of fine words about high-minded ideals. No! It was a rebellion against bad governance, against political arrogance, against oppressive laws, against restriction, constraint, and imposition without representation. We call it 'the Declaration,' but that's not the object. It's the 'Independence,' stupid. The members of the Second Continental Congress did not expect to forfeit their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor for stating the obvious about the 'laws of nature and of nature's God.' Their necks ripened for the noose because they altered, abolished, and threw off the yoke of their government. They counted all as loss to obtain freedom; to be absolved of allegiance to their government, to dissolve all political connections between themselves and the state which they had always referred to as their own. 'The Declaration' offers exhaustive reasons for committing open treason, nonetheless, treason it was. Independence Day then is not a celebration of government, but a regular reminder ... of the necessity to reject corrupt, abusive government.

The Americans Who Risked Everything - Rush Limbaugh Sr. - What kind of men were the 56 signers who adopted the Declaration of Independence and who, by their signing, committed an act of treason against the crown? ... With only a few exceptions, such as Samuel Adams of Massachusetts, these were men of substantial property. All but two had families. The vast majority were men of education and standing in their communities. They had economic security as few men had in the 18th Century. … Each had more to lose from revolution than he had to gain by it.

Educating the Founders By Robert Curry - “At age sixteen Jefferson and Madison and Hamilton were all being schooled by Scots who had come to America as adults.”    Garry Wills, Inventing America This remarkable fact was no mere coincidence.  Scholars from Scotland were held in the highest esteem in colonial America because of the preeminence of Scottish thinkers and Scottish universities at that time.  The Scottish Enlightenment (it lasted from about 1730 until about 1790) was an explosion of creative intellectual energy in science, philosophy, economics, and technological innovation. It arrived just in time to have a decisive influence on the Founders.  Jefferson, Madison and Hamilton are the architects of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and The Federalist Papers. If we want to understand their thinking and their writings, we need to start with the fact that the Scottish Enlightenment provided their teachers.
   ...John Witherspoon’s course in moral philosophy, which he dictated year after year in largely unchanging form and which his students copied down faithfully, is almost certainly the most influential single college course in America’s history.  Beyond his enormous influence as an educator, Witherspoon was also one of the most important of the Founders. He was an early and influential champion of American independence, and much more than merely a signer of the Declaration of Independence. In fact, he played a central role in the signing. When the Declaration was completed and ready to be signed, the signers-to-be wavered. For two days they hesitated to affix their signatures. 
   To sign it, after all, was to provide the British with documentary evidence of treason, punishable by death. John Witherspoon rose to the occasion, speaking in his famously thick Scottish accent:  “There is a tide in the affairs of men, a nick of time. We perceive it now before us. To hesitate is to content to our own slavery. That noble instrument upon your table, which ensures immortality to its author, should be subscribed this very morning by every pen in this house. He that will not respond to its accents and strain every nerve to carry into effect its provisions is unworthy the name freeman.” His speech broke the logjam and, as we all know, the delegates then swiftly signed the Declaration.
   Robert Curry is the author of the forthcoming book, Common Sense Nation.  You can visit him at https://www.facebook.com/CommonSenseNationBook

Thomas Jefferson, letter to Henry Lee, 1825 - "This was the object of the Declaration of Independence. Not to find out new principles, or new arguments, never before thought of, not merely to say things which had never been said before; but to place before mankind the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain and firm as to command their assent, and to justify ourselves in the independent stand we are compelled to take. Neither aiming at originality of principle or sentiment, nor yet copied from any particular and previous writing, it was intended to be an expression of the American mind, and to give to that expression the proper tone and spirit called for by the occasion."

Natural Law: The Ultimate Source of Constitutional Law - Natural law is the basis for Jefferson's assertions in the Declaration of Independence. - "Man ... must necessarily be subject to the laws of his Creator.. This will of his Maker is called the law of nature.... This law of nature...is of course superior to any other.... No human laws are of any validity, if contrary to this: and such of them as are valid derive all their force...from this original." - Sir William Blackstone (Eminent English Jurist)  

The Founders DID NOT establish the Constitution for the purpose of granting rights. Rather, they established this government of laws (not a government of men) in order to secure each person's Creator endowed rights to life, liberty, and property. Only in America, did a nation's founders recognize that rights, though endowed by the Creator as unalienable prerogatives, would not be sustained in society unless they were protected under a code of law which was itself in harmony with a higher law. They called it "natural law," or "Nature's law." Such law is the ultimate source and established limit for all of man's laws and is intended to protect each of these natural rights for all of mankind. The Declaration of Independence of 1776 established the premise that in America a people might assume the station "to which the laws of Nature and Nature's God entitle them.."

Is the Declaration of Independence Illegal? Silly Brits. After all these years, they still don't understand natural rights. During a moot debate last week at Franklin Hall in Philadelphia, British lawyers argued that the 1776 American Declaration of Independence was not only illegal, but actually treasonable. There is no legal principle then or now to allow a group of citizens to establish their own laws because they want to, the British barristers maintained. Well, of course seceding from Great Britain and renouncing allegiance to King George III was both illegal and treasonable by British legal standards. That's why the American colonists  appealed not to their rights as British subjects for a redress of a grievances (as they had done up until 1774) but to the universal supra-political "Laws of Nature and of Nature's God" and the natural rights that go along with them.

Alexander Hamilton's words to set his Tory opponent straight in The Farmer Refuted (1775) come to mind: "The fundamental source of all your errors, sophisms, and false reasonings, is a total ignorance of the natural rights of mankind. The sacred rights of mankind are not to be rummaged for, among old parchments, or musty records. They are written, as with a sun beam, in the whole volume of human nature, by the hand of the divinity itself; and can never be erased or obscured by mortal power."

When the Declaration announces that it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security, this right to alter or abolish government is of course not to be found in British common law. It is a natural right to which all men can appeal, regardless of the constitution under which they live. ...

Laws of Nature and of Nature's God As a practical matter, the Declaration of Independence announced to the world the unanimous decision of the thirteen American colonies to separate themselves from Great Britain. But its true revolutionary significance, then as well as now, is the declaration of a new basis of political legitimacy in the sovereignty of the people. The Americans final appeal was not to any man-made decree or evolving spirit but to rights inherently possessed by all men. These rights are found in eternal "Laws of Nature and of Nature's God." As such, the Declaration's meaning transcends the particulars of time and circumstances.

American Minute for November 15th:  He lost two sons in the Revolution, was the only clergyman to sign the Declaration and served on 120 Congressional Committees. His name was John Witherspoon, and he died NOVEMBER 15, 1794. Born in Scotland, he was a descendant of John Knox. John Witherspoon was President of Princeton, leader of a New Jersey committee to abolish slavery, and taught 9 of the writers of the U.S. Constitution, including James Madison. His other Princeton students include a U.S. Vice-President, Supreme Court Justices, Cabinet Members, Governors, Senators and Congressmen. John Adams described John Witherspoon as "A true son of liberty...but first, he was a son of the Cross." On May 17, 1776, the day Congress declared a Day of Fasting, Rev. John Witherspoon told his Princeton students: "He is the best friend to American liberty, who is most...active in promoting true and undefiled religion...to bear down profanity and immorality of every kind. Whoever is an avowed enemy of God, I scruple not to call him an enemy of his country. It is in the man of piety and inward principle that we may...find the uncorrupted patriot, the useful citizen, and the invincible soldier." John Witherspoon concluded: "God grant that in America true religion and civil liberty may be inseparable."

When Samuel Adams signed the Declaration, he said: "We have this day restored the Sovereign to whom all men ought to be obedient. He reigns in heaven and from the rising to the setting of the sun, let His kingdom come."

"Among the objects of the Constitution of this Commonwealth, Liberty & Equality stand in a conspicuous light. It is the first article in our declaration of rights, all men are born free & equal, & have certain natural, essential & unalienable rights. In the supposed state of nature, all men are equally bound by the laws of nature, or to speak more properly, the laws of the Creator: They are imprinted by the finger of God on the heart of man." Samuel Adams (1722-1803) Father of the American Revolution, Patriot and Statesman

Without the moral virtue Americans derived from Scriptures, would the men who fought for independence possess the knowledge and courage to do so with the odds they faced?

Daniel Webster, in 1820, speaking at the the Bicentennial of the Pilgrims landing at Plymouth Rock, he said this: "Our ancestors established their system of government on morality and religious sentiment. Moral habits, they believed, cannot safely be trusted on any other foundation than religious principle, nor any government secure which is not supported by moral habits... Whatever makes men good Christians, makes them good citizens."


"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it." Thomas Paine Proclaiming the Declaration of Independence

On August 1, 1776, Samuel Adams stood before a large crowd on the steps of the Philadelphia Statehouse and delivered a speech before the formal signing of the Declaration Of Independence on August 2, 1776. In his speech he stated: "We have explored the temple of Royalty and found that the idol that we have bowed down to has Eyes which see not, Ears that hear not our Prayers, and a heart like the nether millstone. We have this day restored the Sovereign to Whom alone all men ought to be obedient; He reigns in Heaven, and with a propitious Eye beholds His subjects assuming that freedom of thought, and dignity of self direction, which He bestowed upon them. From the rising to the setting Sun, may His Kingdom come."

Jesus said unto him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. Matthew 22:37-40

The Constitution is an expression of the Declaration of Independence.

In the same manner as Jesus proclaimed, "On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.," the Constitution and Bill of Rights hang on Jefferson's first two paragraphs of the Declaration of Independence.

The Constitution's primary author, James Madison, wrote Thomas Jefferson on 8 February 1825, these words concerning the supremacy of the Declaration of Independence over our nation's Constitution:

"On the distinctive principles of the Government...of the U. States, the best guides are to be found in...The Declaration of Independence, as the fundamental Act of Union of these States."

"Cursed be all that learning that is contrary to the cross of Christ." --James Madison, Primary Author of the U. S. Constitution and 4th U.S. president. America's Providential History, p. 93

President James Madison, June 20, 1785 - "Before any man can be considered as a member of Civilized Society, he must first be considered as a subject of the Governor of the Universe."

James Madison also wrote, "The belief in a God All Powerful wise and good, is so essential to the moral order of the world and to the happiness of man, that arguments which enforce it cannot be drawn from too many sources nor adapted with too much solicitude to the different characters and capacities impressed with it." In a letter to Frederick Beasley.

"The equal right of every citizen to the free exercise of his Religion according to the dictates of conscience" is held by the same tenure with all our other rights."  --James Madison "Memorial and Remonstrance against Religious Assessments"

George Mason 1772, "The laws of nature are the laws of God, Whose authority can be superseded by no power on earth. A legislature must not obstruct our obedience to Him from Whose punishment they cannot protect us, all human constitutions which contradict His laws, we are in conscience bound to disobey."

Samuel Adams - "[N]either the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt."

Thomas Jefferson - "It is the manners and spirit of a people which preserve a republic in vigor. A degeneracy in these is a canker which soon eats to the heart of its laws and constitution."

Alexander Hamilton - "To grant that there is a supreme intelligence who rules the world and has established laws to regulate the actions of his creatures; and still to assert that man, in a state of nature, may be considered as perfectly free from all restraints of law and government, appears to a common understanding altogether irreconcilable.  Good and wise men, in all ages, have embraced a very dissimilar theory.  They have supposed that the deity, from the relations we stand in to himself and to each other, has constituted an eternal and immutable law, which is indispensably obligatory upon all mankind, prior to any human institution whatever.  This is what is called the law of nature....Upon this law depend the natural rights of mankind."

Calvin Coolidge, July 5, 1926, Philadelphia, PA  - "No other theory is adequate to explain or comprehend the Declaration of Independence. It is the product of the spiritual insight of the people. We live in an age of science and of abounding accumulation of material things. These did not create our Declaration. Our Declaration created them. The things of the spirit come first. Unless we cling to that, all our material prosperity, overwhelming though it may appear, will turn to a barren scepter in our grasp. If we are to maintain the great heritage which has been bequeathed to us, we must be like-minded as the fathers who created it. We must not sink into a pagan materialism. We must cultivate the reverence which they had for the things that are holy. We must follow the spiritual and moral leadership which they showed. We must keep replenished, that they may glow with a more compelling flame, the altar fires before which they worshiped."

James Wilson (American Minute for August 21st:) He was one of six founding fathers to sign both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. President Washington appointed him to the Supreme Court. Born in Scotland, he was an active delegate at the Constitutional Convention, speaking 168 times. His name was James Wilson and he died AUGUST 21, 1798. The first law professor of the University of Pennsylvania, James Wilson wrote in his Lectures on Law, 1789-91: "Law...communicated to us by reason and conscience...has been called natural; as promulgated by the Holy Scriptures, it has been called revealed...But it should always be remembered, that this law, natural or revealed...flows from the same divine source; it is the law of God." James Wilson continued: "Human law must rest its authority, ultimately, upon the authority of that law, which is divine." The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania records in Updegraph v. Commonwealth, 1824: "The late Judge James Wilson, of the Supreme Court of the United States, Professor of Law in the College in Philadelphia...for our present form of government we are greatly indebted to his exertions...In his Course of Lectures (3d Vol. of his Works, 122), he states that...'Christianity is part of the common-law.'"

"The Declaration of Independence...[is the] declaratory charter of our rights, and the rights of man." Thomas Jefferson (letter to Samuel Adams Wells, 12 May 1821)

June 11, 1776 -  The Continental Congress appoints a committee to draft the Declaration of Independence. This "Committee of Five" consisted of John Adams, Roger Sherman, Benjamin Franklin, Robert Livingston, and Thomas Jefferson.  

How Declaration of Independence Was Drafted; Thomas Jefferson Selected as the Author Because Richard H. Lee Was Absent (PDF) On June 10 Congress postponed final consideration for three weeks, and on the following day appointed a committee of five to draw up the Declaration. Richard Henry Lee, as the proposer of the plan, would surely have been on the committee and, possibly, its Chairman, had he not in the meantime been hurriedly summoned home at the illness of his wife. But for that, Lee might have been the author of the Declaration instead of his younger Virginia colleague, Thomas Jefferson, then but 3l years of age. Jefferson had brought to Congress the reputation of wielding a facile pen, and in the balloting for the committee he received a majority of votes and became its Chairman. The others were John Adams of Massachusetts, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, Roger Sherman of Connecticut, and Robert R. Livingston of New York. How did Jefferson come to be selected to write the Declaration, "the one American state paper" as has been said, "that has reached to supreme distinction in the world and that seems likely to last as long us American civilization lasts"? The most interesting account is given by John Adams, who says that he and Thomas Jefferson were designated by the committee to prepare the rough minutes in a proper form Mr. Jefferson first proposed that. Adams prepare the draft of the Declaration. Adams declined, giving, as he says in his autobiography, the following reasons; 1) That he was a Virginian and I a Massacushusettensian, 2) That he was a Southern man and I a Northern one. 3) That I had been so obnoxious for my early and constant zeal in promoting the measure that every draft of mine would undergo a more severe scrutiny and criticism in Congress than of his composition. 4) And lastly, and that would be reason enough if there were no other, I had a great opinion of the elegance of his pen and none at all of my own. I therefore insisted that no hesitation should be made on his part. He accordingly took the minutes, and in a day or two produced to me his draft. (See Complete NY Times article of July 1, 1917 PDF or here online: http://www.ushistory.org/declaration/more/nyt070117.htm.

Click here to learn the history of the drafting of the Declaration of Independence.

Creating the Declaration of Independence - A Time Line

On July 3, 1776, Founding Patriot John Adams wrote to his beloved wife, Abigail: Yesterday, the greatest question was decided, which ever was debated in America, and a greater, perhaps, never was or will be decided among men. You will see in a few days a Declaration setting forth the causes which have impelled us to this mighty revolution, and the reasons which will justify it in the sight of God and man. ... It ought to be commemorated as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shews, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this Continent to the other from this time forward forever more. You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will triumph in that Day's Transaction.

"We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all of our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind of self-government; upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God." James Madison (1751-1836) Father of the Constitution, 4th President of the United States

"Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters."  ...  "The worship of God is a duty...Freedom is not a gift bestowed upon us by other men, but a right that belongs to us by the laws of God and nature, I never doubted the existence of the Deity, that he made the world, and governed it by His Providence...The pleasures of this world are rather from God's goodness than our own merit... Whoever shall introduce into the public affairs the principles of primitive (essential) Christianity will change the face of the world... Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God."  - Benjamin Franklin

Marking the Anniversary of Lincoln's First Inaugural Address One hundred and fifty years ago, on March 4, 1861, Abraham Lincoln delivered his first inaugural address. Facing the most profound political crisis in the nation's history, Lincoln made the case against secession by explaining the nature of the Union and asserting republican government as the foundation of individual liberty and free society. In one of the great speeches of American history - still instructing us today - Lincoln not only dealt with questions of unprecedented immediacy but also explained and justified the American constitutionalism on the grounds of liberty and political rights. (Heritage's Julia Shaw noted last month that Lincoln made a powerful case that the Constitution is based on the principles of the Declaration of Independence.) To mark this anniversary, Lincoln scholar Herman Belz spoke at The Heritage Foundation about the address and its legacy. A professor at the University of Maryland, Belz spoke at the invitation of Heritage's Center for American Studies. Watch a video of the speech.  

"I never had a feeling politically that did not spring from the sentiments embodied in the Declaration of Independence." Abraham Lincoln Address at Independence Hall Philadelphia, Pennsylvania February 22, 1861

"We live in an age of science and of abounding accumulation of material things. These did not create our Declaration. Our Declaration created them. The things of the spirit come first. Unless we cling to that, all our material prosperity, overwhelming though it may appear, will turn to a barren sceptre in our grasp. If we are to maintain the great heritage which has been bequeathed to us, we must be like-minded as the fathers who created it." Calvin Coolidge

American Minute for July 4th: The Declaration of Independence was approved JULY 4, 1776. John Hancock signed first, saying "the price on my head has just doubled." Benjamin Franklin said "We must hang together or most assuredly we shall hang separately." Of the 56 signers: 17 lost their fortunes, 12 had their homes destroyed, 5 became prisoners of war, 1 had two sons imprisoned on the British starving ship Jersey, 1 had a son killed in battle, 1 had his wife die from harsh prison treatment and 9 signers died during the War. When Samuel Adams signed the Declaration, he said: "We have this day restored the Sovereign to whom all men ought to be obedient. He reigns in heaven and from the rising to the setting of the sun, let His kingdom come." John Adams said: "I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty." John Adams continued: "I am well aware of the toil and blood and treasure that it will cost to maintain this Declaration...Yet through all the gloom I can see the rays of ravishing light and glory...Posterity will triumph in that day's transaction, even though we [may regret] it, which I trust in God we shall not."

"There can be no prescription old enough to supersede the Law of Nature and the grant of God Almighty, who has given to all men a natural right to be free, and they have it ordinarily in their power to make themselves so, if they please." --American lawyer and patriot James Otis (1725-1783)


Congressman Forbes asks the questions "Did America ever consider itself a Judeo-Christian nation?" and "If America was once a Judeo-Christian nation, when did it cease to be?" on the floor of the US House. (4m28s video)


46 Pages By Scott Liell Thomas Paine, a native of Thetford, England, arrived in America's colonies with little in the way of money, reputation, or prospects, though he did have a letter of recommendation in his pocket from Benjamin Franklin. Paine also had a passion for liberty in all its forms, and an abiding hatred of tyranny. His forceful, direct expression of those principles found voice in a pamphlet he wrote entitled Common Sense, which proved to be the most influential political work of the time. Ultimately, Paine's treatise provided inspiration to the second Continental Congress for the drafting of the Declaration of Independence. 46 Pages is a dramatic look at a pivotal moment in our country's formation, a scholar's meticulous recreation of the turbulent years leading up to the Revolutionary War, retold with excitement and new insight.

However, it also needs to be known: From American Vision, Gary DeMar - How many times have you heard some skeptic claim that this or that non-Christian was a Founding Father of America? Thomas Jefferson is one of their patron saints, and yet he wasn't even present during the drafting of the Constitution. Of course, Jefferson was the primary author of the Declaration of Independence which states emphatically that God is the Creator and the Judge of the world. The ACLU plays down these words. Benjamin Franklin is another one skeptics love to trot out as an anti-religious Founding Father. But it was Franklin who stood up at the Constitutional Convention and quoted Psalm 127:1 as a warning to the delegates: Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it." Not much is said about these remarks by Franklin.

So liberals bring out what they believe is their biggest gun, Thomas Paine. Paine wrote Common Sense in 1776 and used the Bible (Judges 8; 1 Sam. 8; Matt. 22:21) to make the case that Americans had a biblical right to oppose tyrannical governments. These facts are ignored by today's scholars, and skeptics. Instead, they reference Paine's The Age of Reason as the work they claim proves America was founded on Enlightenment principles. Hogwash! The first part wasn't published until 1794. Even Paine's friends denounced him for his views. John Adams called Paine a "blackguard" who wrote out of the depths of "a malignant heart." George Washington, previously one of Paine's fiercest advocates, attacked Paine's principles in his Farewell Address (without referring to his name) as unpatriotic and subversive. But you would never know any of these facts if you sat through a history lecture on the period in a modern-day college classroom.

But here's something else you will probably have never hear: Paine's Age of Reason was thoroughly refuted by Elias Boudinot in his masterful book The Age of Revelation. Never heard of Boudinot? I'm not surprised. It's because Boudinot was a real Founding Father who served as a delegate to the Continental Congress, signed the Treaty of Paris, helped design the Great Seal of the United States, served as Director of the United States Mint, founded the American Bible Society, and proposed a resolution (that passed) just after the ratification of the First Amendment that called on the President to issue a Thanksgiving Day Proclamation. Boudinot said he "could not think of letting the session pass over without offering an opportunity to all the citizens of the United States of joining with one voice, in returning to Almighty God their sincere thanks for the many blessings he had poured down upon them." You won't find any of these inconvenient truths in today's textbooks.

Boudinot believed it was Paine's popularity with his 1776 Common Sense that attracted people to The Age of Reason. It's in this book that Paine declares that the Bible is more "the word of a demon than the word of God" being "a history of wickedness that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind." When Boudinot heard that "thousands of copies of the Age of Reason had been sold at public." he decided to write a refutation of the incendiary work. Boudinot was a man ahead of his time. He understood that young people would be the most susceptible to Paine's arguments. Little has changed in 200 years.


Franklin, John Adams and Jefferson writing the Declaration"In the supposed state of nature, all men are equally bound by the laws of nature, or to speak more properly, the laws of the Creator."  Samuel Adams (letter to the Legislature of Massachusetts, 17 January 1794) Reference: Original Intent, Barton (224); original The Writings of Samuel Adams, Cushing, ed., vol. 4 (356)

"The moral precepts delivered in the sacred oracles form a part of the law of nature, are of the same origin and of the same obligation, operating universally and perpetually."  James Wilson (Of the Law of Nature, 1804) Reference: The Works of the Honourable James Wilson, Wilson, ed., vol. 1 (137-138)

Justice William O. Douglas of the U.S. Supreme Court in the 1961 case of McGowan vs. Maryland: "The institutions of our society are founded on the belief that there is an authority higher than the authority of the State; that there is a moral law which the State is powerless to alter; that the individual possess rights, conferred by the Creator which government must respect. The Declaration Of Independence stated the now familiar theme: 'We hold these Truths to be self evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.' And the body of the Constitution as well as the Bill of Rights enshrined these principles."  (The following year, prayer was removed from schools.)

"Far from being rivals or enemies, religion and law are twin sisters, friends, and mutual assistants. Indeed, these two sciences run into each other. The divine law, as discovered by reason and the moral sense, forms an essential part of both." James Wilson - Reference: The Works of James Wilson, McCloskey, ed., 125.

"In its main features the Declaration of Independence is a spiritual document. It is a declaration not of material but spiritual conceptions. Equality, liberty, popular sovereignty, the rights of man, these are not elements which we can see and touch. They are ideals. They have their source and their roots in religious convictions. They belong to the unseen world. Unless the faith of the American people in these religious convictions is to endure, the principles of our Declaration will perish. We cannot continue to enjoy the result if we neglect and abandon the cause. If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just power from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth and their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who wish to proceed in that direction cannot lay claim to progress." Calvin Coolidge


The origin of this statement from Sir William Blackstone (1723-1780) Knight, King's Counsel, Solicitor to the Queen, Member of Parliament, and a Justice of the Court of Common Pleas and the King's Bench. Book 1, Section II of the Commentaries, entitled "Of the Nature of Laws in General."  Precisely: "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."

And: "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 over all the globe, in all countries, and at all times: no human laws are in 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."

"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 [permitted] to contradict these." William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England, 4 vols. (Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press, [1765-1769] 1979), 1:38, 41, 42.

Thomas Jefferson further complies when he said "A free people claim their rights as derived from the laws of nature, and not as the gift of their chief magistrate." AND "[It is] God who gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are a Gift of God?"

This means God, not the State, nor the Federal Government is the author of "Rights," according to "the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God," regardless of what the ACLU or the "despotic branch" would coerce us into believing.

So why do liberals, despotic judges and the ACLU believe otherwise? And if these quotes from Jefferson properly represents his intent for our Nation, then why does the liberal left continue to misrepresent a letter he wrote to the Baptists and twist the phrase "Separation of Church and State" to deceive and steal America's Christian Heritage? And why are they getting away with it?

Therefore, the law is ignored And justice is never upheld. For the wicked surround the righteous; Therefore, justice comes out perverted. Habakkuk 1:4 (NASB)

Cicero - "Power and the law are not synonymous. In truth they are frequently in opposition and irreconcilable. There is God's Law from which all equitable laws of man emerge and by which men must live if they are not to die in oppression, chaos and despair. Divorces from God's eternal and immutable Law, established before the founding of the suns, man's power is evil no matter the noble words with which it is employed or the motives urged when enforcing it. Men of good will, mindful therefore of the Law laid down by God, will oppose government whose rule is by men and, if they wish to survive as a nation, they will destroy that government which attempts to adjudicate by the whim or power of venal judges."


"The day of our nation's birth in that little hall in Philadelphia, [was] a day on which debate had raged for hours. The men gathered there were honorable men hard-pressed by a king who had flouted the very laws they were willing to obey. Even so, to sign the Declaration of Independence was such an irretrievable act that the walls resounded with the words 'treason, the gallows, the headsman's axe,' and the issue remained in doubt. [On that day] 56 men, a little band so unique we have never seen their like since, had pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor. Some gave their lives in the war that followed, most gave their fortunes, and all preserved their sacred honor... In recent years, however, I've come to think of that day as more than just the birthday of a nation. It also commemorates the only true philosophical revolution in all history. Oh, there have been revolutions before and since ours. But those revolutions simply exchanged one set of rules for another. Ours was a revolution that changed the very concept of government. Let the Fourth of July always be a reminder that here in this land, for the first time, it was decided that man is born with certain God-given rights; that government is only a convenience created and managed by the people, with no powers of its own except those voluntarily granted to it by the people. We sometimes forget that great truth, and we never should." Ronald Reagan

"In its main features the Declaration of Independence is a spiritual document. It is a declaration not of material but spiritual conceptions. Equality, liberty, popular sovereignty, the rights of man—these are not elements which we can see and touch. They are ideals. They have their source and their roots in religious convictions. They belong to the unseen world. Unless the faith of the American people in these religious convictions is to endure, the principles of our Declaration will perish. We cannot continue to enjoy the result if we neglect and abandon the cause. If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just power from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth and their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who wish to proceed in that direction cannot lay claim to progress." Calvin Coolidge

"May it be to the world, what I believe it will be, (to some parts sooner, to others later, but finally to all,) the signal of arousing men to burst the chains under which monkish ignorance and superstition had persuaded them to bind themselves, and to assume the blessings and security of self-government. That form which we have substituted, restores the free right to the unbounded exercise of reason and freedom of opinion. All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately, by the grace of God. These are grounds of hope for others. For ourselves, let the annual return of this day forever refresh our recollections of these rights, and an undiminished devotion to them." Thomas Jefferson


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