Influence Natural Law Has Had on the American Legal System Term Paper

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Natural Law and America's Legal System

This paper presents an examination of how Natural Law impacts the America legal system. The writer explores natural law and how it applies to the current legal system and argues that the natural law helps to drive the current system. There were four sources used to complete this paper.

The American legal system is one that has stood the test of time since the penning of the United States Constitution. It has worked throughout the country and been held worldwide as an excellent standard of justice. While the constitution and the laws that have been passed to support the constitution are the benchmarks of the American legal system much of how it was derived follows the patterns of natural law theories.

While most people believe that the foundation for today's laws revolve around the United States Constitution, the actual foundation for the American legal system is the theory of natural law.


Before one can begin to define how natural law and its theories impact the American legal system it is important to understand the theory of natural law.

While there has been much debates with regard to natural law theories over the years there are several key elements of the theories that provide a foundation for their existence.

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One of the most widely recognized natural theorists is Thomas Aquinas whose moral law theories dovetail perfectly with the theory of natural law (Natural Law Theorists (

Natural law theory is one of the most important theories in the philosophy of Classical Realism. It is also widely misunderstood by many who have either not taken the time to study it or have heard of it and dismissed it as a "medieval" relic (Dolhenty, 2004)."

The idea of natural law dates back to the ancient Greek era when the universe was believed to be ruled by an eternal law.

TOPIC: Term Paper on Influence Natural Law Has Had on the American Legal System Assignment

Later on Christian philosophers easily adapted to and accepted natural law principles as the law of God. It is what Aquinas's beliefs are based in that part of the law of God is human ability to use reason to make the right choices in life.

Like the Stoics, Aquinas believed that a positive law that violates natural law is not true law (Dolhenty, 2004)."

As history moved forward John Locke emerged as another expert in the natural law theory as he introduced the concept that human beings are free and equal but they are not comfortable in that freedom so they surrender enough of their rights to society that provide them with that security.

This natural rights theory provided a philosophical basis for both the American and French revolutions. Thomas Jefferson used the natural law theory to justify his trinity of "inalienable rights" which were stated in the United States Declaration of Independence (Dolhenty, 2004)."

This provides a measurable backdrop to the question of natural law and how it impacts the American legal system.


Natural law in its most simple form is the unwritten law of mankind. It is a concept of principle morals and values that are or at least should be shared by all of mankind because of the central goodness of their concepts (Horowitz, 2000).

Natural law is therefore distinguished from -- and provides a standard for -- positive law, the formal legal enactments of a particular society (Dolhenty, 2004)."

One example of this is the belief that killing is wrong. There are few humans or societies on earth that would disagree with the basic tenet that the murder of another person without reason is wrong (Green, 2005). It takes a loved one from a family, it removes financial support from children, it takes someone out of society that may have moved on to contribute great things and if one is Christian the act of murder is… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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APA Style

Influence Natural Law Has Had on the American Legal System.  (2006, December 7).  Retrieved July 30, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Influence Natural Law Has Had on the American Legal System."  7 December 2006.  Web.  30 July 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Influence Natural Law Has Had on the American Legal System."  December 7, 2006.  Accessed July 30, 2021.