The School of Athens’ most well-known philosophers. Plato, Aristotle and Natural Law.

Plato and Aristotle

Plato and Aristotle. Plato (left) and Aristotle (right.) A detail of The School of Athens, a fresco by Raphael.

Natural law theories such as Declarationism, a legal philosophy, argues that the founding of the United States is based on natural law. Because of the intersection between natural law and natural rights, natural law has been cited as a component in the United States Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States, as well as in the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. (See “Laws of Nature” First Paragraph Declaration of Independence[7]) Within the American Declaration of Independence, building on natural law, philosophies such as Consent of the Governed replaced the older doctrine of the Divine right of kings. These philosophies like social contract theory came of age during the age of enlightenment through individuals such as John Locke, but these ideas can be found in Roman law, Greek philosophy and ancient Buddhist texts.


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