The James Wilson Foundation on Natural Rights and the American Founding

“The James Wilson Institute Teaches the Moral Foundations of the Law” — Mike Sabo at RealClearWire

Mike Sabo explains JWI’s project of recapturing the wisdom of the Founding Generation and their application of Natural Law as they created a republican society. 

Some excerpts:

“Arkes founded the James Wilson Institute to ‘restore to a new generation of lawyers, judges, and citizens the understanding of the American Founders about the first principles of our law and the moral grounds of their own rights.’ The Institute emphasizes the mutual dependence of natural rights and natural law – the rights that all people hold by nature and our corresponding duties and moral obligations.”

“Wilson’s approach to law, which the Founding generation largely shared, was rooted in natural law. Arkes has described natural law as the claim that moral principles of justice exist apart from the written law and are accessible to anyone through the use of reason. He points out that early American statesmen, including Hamilton and Marshall, regularly traced their judgments back to what Hamilton called in ‘Federalist 31‘ the ‘first principles, upon which all subsequent reasonings must depend.'”

Read the full article here.

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Law and liberty cannot rationally become the objects of our love, unless they first become the objects of our knowledge.
— James Wilson, Lectures on Law, 1790