Natural Rights: The Cornerstone of the Constitution
By: Jim Lewis
The cornerstone of the U. S. Constitution depends on the proper understanding of Natural Rights belonging to every human being.
The U.S. government is the first and only one in history to be founded on Natural Law. Even though nothing is mentioned in the Constitution about Natural Law, the document sometimes referred to as the “spirit” of the Constitution does.
Look at the following passage from the Declaration of Independence:
“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.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to affect their Safety and Happiness.”
There are five “truths” contained in that quote that you must know to understand why the founders wrote the Constitution the way they did.
First Truth: All men are created equal.
What the Founding Fathers meant by equality is this: All men share a common human nature. The assertion that all men are created equal means that all persons are the same in some respect.
Second Truth: Our rights come from God.
If you believe in God you get this, but even those who don’t believe in God must believe that your rights come from something greater than man or government. Our rights pre-date the Constitution.
Third Truth: The purpose of government is to protect our Natural Rights (life, liberty and property).
The Founder’s wanted the new government’s power to be strictly limited. They understood that as government expands liberty contracts.
In Federalist Paper #14 James Madison said:
“It is to be remembered that the general government is not to be charged with the whole power of making and administering laws. Its jurisdiction is limited to certain enumerated objects.”
Fourth Truth: Government derives its power from the People.
The federal government did not create itself, so the people, whose creature it is, must always ensure it stays within its proper bounds.
Fifth Truth: When government stops fulfilling its proper role, people have the right, no, the duty, to change or alter the government to meet their needs.
The founders believed it was the State’s responsibility to keep the federal government in check.
To truly understand why the Constitution was written the way it is, you have to understand Natural Law. Then when you read the seven Articles of the Constitution, the fact is that it isn’t about “We the People”, but the organization, powers and operation of the federal government it created, makes sense.
That is why we started Building Blocks For Liberty (BBFL). BBFL is a 501c3 organization, dedicated to educating the public about the US Constitution. BBFL’s Constitution Boot Camp training is apolitical and teaches the key concepts and ideas about the Founding Fathers, Natural Law, Republic versus Democracy, the three branches of government, enumerated powers and much more.
Unlike other Constitution training, BBFL’s classes are presented in one day (why we call it a Boot Camp). To achieve this, BBFL uses one of two teaching methods. The first is an instructor-led PowerPoint class where instructors teach the entire class. The second, developed to reach a broader audience, is a video method that uses a thumb drive. Class leaders simply plug into a USB port and click on play. Participant’s next use our textbook, The Handbook For We The People, to complete their basic Constitutional education. At the end of the class, participants will be equipped with the tools and the knowledge to read and understand the U.S. Constitution for themselves. For more information, visit BBFL’s website HERE.