U.S. Constitution Series 1:
Founding Fathers and Cicero
Cicero was born January 3, 106 B.C.
The Founders’ Basic Principles: 28 Great Ideas that changed the world
Worldly philosophies endeavor to blur the distinction between good and evil and eliminate accountability. However, the foundation of Natural Law (the law of the Creator) is the reality of good and evil. The U.S. Constitution was successful in creating a free and prosperous society because its foundation of Natural Law is based on moral accountability to a just God. ~C.A. Davidson
From The 5,000 Year Leap—A Miracle that Changed the World
By W. Cleon Skousen
1. First Principle: the Genius of Natural Law
(Notes from pp. 37-47)
What is Natural Law?
The Creator’s order of things is called Natural Law.
The only reliable basis for sound government and just human relations is Natural Law.
Cicero cut through the political and philosophical errors of both Plato and Aristotle to discover the touchstone of good laws, sound government, and the long-range formula for happy human relations. (p.37) He was the only Roman political writer who has exercised enduring influence throughout the ages. He studied law in Rome and philosophy in Athens.
Cicero’s compelling honesty led him to conclude that once the reality of the Creator is clearly identified in the mind, the only intelligent approach to government, justice, and human relations is in terms of the laws which the Supreme Creator has already established.
In the Declaration of Independence Jefferson referred to the “laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.”
In Natural Law we are dealing with factors of absolute reality.
Since the Biblical God is the author of Natural Law, the first two great commandments indicated by Jesus Christ provide the standard for government and human relations.
Internal and External Government
Society cannot exist unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere, and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without. It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. ~Edmund Burke
1. The first great commandment is to love and honor God (the God of Israel). The simplest way to honor God is to abide by the Ten Commandments. These provide moral absolutes, which if obeyed, build in us a strong internal government, or good moral character.
2. The second great commandment is to “love thy neighbor as thyself.” This commandment is based on love. When we serve our fellow man, we are serving God. Jesus taught that we should treat others as we would like to be treated. If we have strong internal government, (we discipline ourselves and do no harm to others, by our own choice), then there is little need for much external government, which forces people to obey the rules of civilization. Internal government is based on love of God, ourselves, and our neighbors. External force is not based on love.
Legislation in Violation of God’s Natural Law is a Scourge to Humanity
All Law Should Be Measured against God’s Law
Cicero set forth the means by which people may discern between good and evil laws. All laws must be measured by God’s Law, which he described as follows:
Therefore Law [of the Creator] is the distinction between things just and unjust, made in agreement with that primal and most ancient of all things, Nature; and in conformity to Nature’s standard are framed those human laws which inflict punishment upon the wicked and protect the good. (Dr. William Ebenstein, Great Political Thinkers, p. 135)
It was clear to Cicero as he came toward the close of his life that men must eliminate the depravity that had lodged itself in society. He felt they must return to the high road of Natural Law. They must pledge obedience to the mandates of a loving and concerned Creator. (Skousen, pp. 45-46)
The Following are Examples of concepts based on Natural Law
- Unalienable rights
- Unalienable duties
- Habeas Corpus
- Limited government
- Separation of powers
- Checks and balances to correct abuses by peaceful means
- Right of contract
- Laws protecting the family and the institution of marriage
- Justice by reparation or paying for damages
- Right to bear arms
- No taxation without representation