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The Nature of Government Lockean Liberalism for Our Next Civil Crisis

The annotated transcript of The Nature of Government video series at by Peter Stephens

To Harry V. Jaffa, Michael L. Gress, William O’Donnell, John Locke, and, of course, Abraham Lincoln. Thank you.

Publisher: Slow Press, Ashburn, Virginia Copyright © 2013 Peter Stephens All rights reserved. ISBN: 0975864815 ISBN-13: 978-0975864814

"The old forms rattle, and the new delay to appear." - Ralph Waldo Emerson, February 3, 1861

Table of Contents Video 1: The Possibility of Self-Government ...................11 Summary: Is self-government possible, or even desirable, in the long run? Calvin's and Hobbes's similar approaches to selfgovernment. The Disciplinarian Calvinists on post-lapsarian man's inability to reason about what Aristotle called first principles. Hooker versus Cartwright on natural law based on reason. The similar approaches of Montessori and Locke in education and on the link between nature and reason. Definition of reason and its salutary effects in discerning natural law, in differentiating men from beasts, and in preparing the heart for revelation. A. Series Introduction ............................................................................11 B. The Question We Live........................................................................14 C. Calvin and Hobbes ..............................................................................17 D. Calvin’s First Rationale: the Fall ....................................................19 E. Reason.....................................................................................................24 F. Peroration..............................................................................................32

Video 2: The Meaning of Equality........................................35 Summary: John Calvin's second objection to a natural law based on God's reason: man is not created equal in an ontological sense. The spiritual equality and diversity suggested by our bodies. How, for the Disciplinarian Calvinists, fundamental inequality disproves rational natural law. The underpinnings of equality: God's will that "none should perish." The universality required of scientific, juridic, and moral laws. Natural law's universality proves equality. Equality as the fundamental tenet of natural law. The hierarchy inherent in natural law's equality. The Lockean liberal's need for a God. The Nuremburg Trials' use of natural law. A. Calvin’s Second Rationale: Equality..............................................35 B. Hierarchy...............................................................................................42

Video 3: The Beginning and the End ..................................51 Summary: Locke's tract war with patriarchalists. The absolute monarchist beliefs of patriarchalism. The relative ages of natural law theories and of strong monarchist governments. The purpose and history of states of nature. A description of Locke's state of nature and a comparison of it with John Calhoun's state of nature. The notion of inalienable rights.The meaning of "an appeal to heaven." The meaning of the right to the pursuit of happiness. The teleological nature of happiness as described by Aristotle, Aquinas, and Hooker. Montessori's method's purpose as an example of the pursuit of happiness. The need for virtue to fulfill one's calling. The hierarchy of fulfillment in the Declaration of Independence's "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" reflected also in Covey's Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Maslov's Hierarchy of Needs, the New Testament's triune man, and Hooker's "triple perfection." A. The State of Nature ...................................................................51 B. The Pursuit of Happiness.........................................................64

Video 4: Who Defines Our Rights? ......................................72 Summary: Differences between Lockean liberalism and modern liberalism and conservatism on nature of rights. The problem of Stephen Douglas's Popular Sovereignty doctrine. Summary of Lincoln's debate with Douglas over slavery in the territories. Difference in liberalism of the American and French revolutions. Dred Scott holding vs. the Roe v. Wade holding. Douglas's Popular Sovereignty and Robert Bork's "majority morality."

Video 5: Three American Covenants ..................................84 Summary: Basic overview of Strauss and Howe's generational theory. Richard Rohr on first- and second-half-of-life spirituality. The need for a "second-half-of-life" civil paradigm to equal our hard-won, (often) later-in-life spiritual insight. Jesus helping

disciples and Pharisees out of legalism. "I came to fulfill the law" and Jesus' teaching on the relation among covenants and on hermeneutics. The book of Hebrews on the relation among the Abrahamic Covenant, the Mosaic Covenant, and the New Covenant. The parallels between the book of Hebrews on these covenants and Lincoln on three American "covenants": the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Civil War amendments. Lincoln's notion of "political religion." The maturing of Lincoln's "political religion" from his Lyceum Address to his Peoria Speech to the Gettysburg Address.

Video 6: Hermeneutics (and a Conclusion)........................103 Summary: Lincoln's constitutional hermeneutics. Lincoln's "apples of gold in pictures of silver" explication describing the connection between the Constitution and the truths in the Declaration of Independence. How Lincoln understood the Constitution on slavery. William Lloyd Garrison and the constitutional hermeneutics of abolitionists. The parallel between abolitionist hermeneutics and the "Living Constitution." John Calhoun and the constitutional hermeneutics of secessionists. The parallel between secessionist hermeneutics and strict constructionism. The difference between original intent and strict constructionism. Overview of Locke's Second Treatise on Government. The notion of the United States as a Christian nation. The equality clause and the Gettysburg Address. The notion of American exceptionalism. Three reasons natural law cannot (and should not) be completely enumerated. The dangers of solely positive law on the origin of rights. The cyclical appearance and disappearance of natural law in history. A. Hermeneutics ..........................................................................103 B. Series Conclusion...................................................................109

Works Cited ...............................................................121 Index ..........................................................................128

Video 1: The Possibility of Self-Government A. Series Introduction Is self-government possible? Is it even desirable, given what we know of human nature? Welcome to The Nature of Government, a short video series on one biblical view of modern government, particularly of United States federalism. This is the first of six videos, each around a half hour in length. This video contains this brief introduction and the first topic, which is the possibility of self-government. Subsequent videos will cover the meaning of equality, Locke’s state of nature, the pursuit of happiness, the three American covenants, Constitutional hermeneutics, and a fairly long conclusion. When I wrote about these matters on my blog [], I wrote it for a general audience that I pictured as fairly up on American political science. These videos, though, are with Christians in mind, particularly ones that haven’t read John Locke or Thomas Jefferson, or at least not in a long time. My blog material is quite detailed, documented, and, of course, disorganized as a body of work. This video is none of the above. For a price, though, you can get a transcript of this series that also includes over 200 footnotes – almost 10,000 words of footnotes – that document and deepen the transcript.1 This book is available on slow press dot 1

These footnotes taken together constitute a second series of


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com and amazon dot com. I’d like to give you something of a box to put me in. I think I owe it to you before we start out. I’m not worried about the box because I think I’ll stay in what I think the box means, but I think I’ll break out of what you might think the box means. I also want to give you one warning, but first the box. To know what this country is for, to know how to read its constitution, I think you have to know what the country’s founders wrote. You know – letters, constitutions, that sort of thing. I believe, then, in original intent,2 but I don’t think you can find original intent through what liberals call the living constitution or through what conservatives call strict construction. Lincoln dismissed the living constitution and strict constructionist schools of his day. He read the Founding Fathers a lot, and the Founding Fathers were all about natural law, which honors both the spirit and the letter of the Constitution. Lincoln applied and stuck up for natural law, too, against the extremes sorts if the reader counts the videos alone as a series. The longer, more substantive footnotes cover the same material as the videos do, but generally they cover it at a deeper level. A reader, of course, may wish to use the footnotes in the usual way – to substantiate or to dig further into points that interest him or her. To learn the material recursively, however, a reader may wish to watch the six videos as an entry-level course and then read the video’s transcripts with the footnotes as what might be termed a two-hundred-level course. 2 Walter Lippmann, a prominent American journalist and essayist in the first half of the twentieth century, said as much in his defense of natural law: “I hold that liberal democracy is not an intelligible form of government and cannot be made to work except by men who possess the philosophy in which liberal democracy was conceived and founded.” Lippmann, 160 – 161. Abraham Lincoln, as we’ll see in this video series and book, was such a man.

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of the Dred Scott Supreme Court, abolitionists, and secessionists. These aren’t my biggest points. I just wanted to cloak myself at the outset with impartiality and with what might, as yet, seem like a certain exoticism. To understand natural law, you really have to give up, or at least suspend for the moment, our zeitgeist. There’s my warning. Zeitgeist means the spirit of the age. We live with a zeitgeist, and we’re often not aware of how our thinking is shaped by it. You could almost say that what the Kosmokrator does in the realm of territory, or of space, if you will, zeitgeist does in the realm of time. There’s overlap, I’m sure, between the god of this world and the spirit of an age. To study natural law in one respect is like reading a great history book: it will challenge our zeitgeist.3 We’ll learn that the battle between natural law and zeitgeist in the West is an eternal one, or at least a cyclical one. And the battle is beginning again. I hope some of your goals for the videos might align with mine here: Lippmann attributed the disfavor natural law receives today in part to the distrust our age has of any publicly held philosophy. In his book The Public Philosophy, Lippmann states, “But as time went on, there fell out of fashion the public philosophy of the founders of Western institutions. The rule that the temporal power should be excluded from the realm of the mind and of the spirit was then subtly transformed. It became the rule that ideas and principles are private – with only subjective relevance and significance. Only when there is ‘a clear and present danger’ to public order are the acts of speaking and publishing in the public domain.” Lippmann, 97 – 100. One way to state a chief contention of this video series and book is this: the American church must help to return natural law to the public domain when a civil crisis recreates that domain. 3


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1. To learn the fundamental problems with this age’s liberal-conservative divide from both a philosophical and hermeneutical perspective. The current blue-red, left-right framework is, from a spiritual standpoint, inadequate and misleading way to understand fundamental issues.

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Alexander Hamilton dedicated The Federalist (a.k.a. The Federalist Papers) to the question, starting the first of its 85 essays with this observation: . . . it seems to have been reserved for the people of this country, by their conduct and example, to decide the important question, whether societies of men are really capable or not of establishing good government from reflection and choice, or whether they are forever destined to depend for their political constitutions on accident and force.4

2. To learn how Maria Montessori’s insights into how children learn extend to government. 3. To learn more of what we have to offer as an older generation to a younger generation facing a civil crisis that poses an existential threat possibly as big as, or bigger than, the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and the Depression and World War II.

And Lincoln, seventy-six years later in his Gettysburg Address, made a similar question the central question that the Civil War was fought to answer:

4. To learn the extent to which our nation was founded on biblical principles. (If your answer is “not at all” or “we’re a Christian nation,” I think you’re going to be surprised and, I hope, delighted.)

Now we are engaged in a great civil war [he said], testing whether this nation, or any nation, [conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal] can long endure.5

The purpose, by the way, is not to teach you how to engage politically or to encourage you to do so. It is certainly not to tell you whom to vote for or how to see any current political issue. It’s also not to present solutions to any particular national issue. I won’t be doing that at all. In fact, my peroration in the last video will include no call to action.

Is self-government possible? It’s the central drama of every American generation facing a grave civil crisis, from the Republican generation that fought the Revolutionary War, to the Progressive Generation that fought the Civil War, to the G.I. Generation that fought World War II. Here’s Franklin Roosevelt:

I’m Peter Stephens. Thank you so much for your attention. You may contact me at Peter at slow reads dot com.

B. The Question We Live Is self-government possible? Is it even desirable, given what we know of human nature? The question, of course, is the central question of our nation’s founding.

Hamilton, 27. Elsewhere in The Federalist, Hamilton states that American self-government should “vindicate the honor of the human race” against European thinkers who believed that Asians, Africans, and Americans were fundamentally inferior to Europeans. Id., 85 – 86. Here Hamilton put the same national question in terms of equality, as did Lincoln (as I point out in this video) in his Gettysburg Address. 5 Lincoln, Lincoln on Democracy, 307. 4


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There is a mysterious cycle in human events. To some generations much is given. Of other generations much is expected. This generation of Americans has a rendezvous with destiny.6 Now, it’s the question for our own generation, facing deep divisions at home, threats abroad from Islamic radicals and China, and the associated pressures from increasing global temperatures and decreasing economic, military, and technological clout. Or, more precisely, it’s the question for the Millennial Generation and the Homeland Generation7 that is being born today to follow it. To some generations, much is expected. We should be used to living out a question, a theory. The French commentator and American enthusiast Alex de Tocqueville in 1830 described our republic as “the great American experiment.”8 Lincoln himself said that we were dedicated to a proposition — an unproven idea — the proposition that “all men are created equal.” Can men and women govern themselves based on some idea of equality? And how should the church view the American experiment? How does the proposition that “all men are created equal” relate to the values many Christians think our country was founded on? How does the question of self-government relate to the kingdom of God?

Roosevelt. The Homeland generation is historian and demographer Neil Howe’s term for the American generation born after 2004. “Homeland.” 8 De Tocqueville. 6 7

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C. Calvin and Hobbes Now that we have some how central the question may be, I’ll ask it again: Is self-government possible, or even desirable, in the long run? Well, two figures in history, Calvin and Hobbes, say no. [Picture of the comic book characters appears.] Hm. Strange bedfellows. Oh, wrong Calvin and Hobbes. But they were still strange bedfellows. John Calvin, of course, is the sixteenth-century French theologian who gave us Calvinism. Thomas Hobbes was a seventeenth-century English philosopher, a man whose religious views left him open, then and now, unfairly, to the accusation of atheism. Different as they were in their religious convictions, Calvin and Hobbes agreed on this: a society of people cannot govern itself. I’m being a little unfair to Calvin. He believed in a theocracy in the form of a religious republic, with the state acting as an arm of the church. He thought societies should be ruled in both the realm of civil government and the realm of the church by the Bible. He consequently found himself making lots of distinctions about what parts of the Bible should be enforced as civil law. It’s more precisely his followers in England, who became known as the Puritans and the Disciplinarian Calvinists, who in the decades following Calvin’s death denied that man could govern himself. Two of the chief spokesmen for these early Puritans were Walter Travers and Thomas Cartwright.9


Rosenthal, 30.


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Although Calvin liked notions of democracy and aristocracy, Calvinism after his death generally grew to distrust man’s capacity to govern himself. This was the logical consequence of Calvin’s theology more than of his political philosophy. Travers and Cartwright, as we’ll see, developed political notions that were more in keeping with Calvin’s theology than even Calvin’s political notions were.10 What was one of the most influential ideas of Calvin’s theology? Calvin believed that the fall of man rendered man almost unable to reason.11 Calvin said, “Although we grant that the image of God was not utterly effaced and destroyed in him, it was, however, so corrupted, that any thing which remains is fearful deformity.”12 Hobbes, for his part, is famous for his view that, without an absolute ruler, the life of man is “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.”13 Calvin wanted a theocracy, and Hobbes wanted a strong, autocratic ruler. Hobbes’s ruler’s abuses against his people would simply be the price paid for society’s peaceful existence. I bring up Calvin and Hobbes together to demonstrate that the idea that mankind cannot govern itself is not the exclusive property of the church or of the secular world. I’d like to pay a little more attention to Calvin, though, because his notions still influence how the American church sees human nature, and therefore how the church views American democracy. Id., 48, 68. See gen. Stephens, “The middle way.” 12 Rosenthal, 47. 13 Hobbes, 76. 10 11

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D. Calvin’s First Rationale: the Fall When Calvin said that everything left to man after the fall is “fearful deformity,” he included man’s ability to reason about things that concerned God. Calvin’s view that fallen man is incapable of reason was a big departure from what had been the prevailing Christian viewpoint.14 In 16th century England, a churchman named Richard Hooker defended the English Constitution against Calvinism. Calvinists argued that the Bible, along with man-made laws that applied and enforced the Bible, should be England’s only law. Hooker, though, pointed out that the church since at least Thomas Aquinas, the famous thirteenth century theologian, had affirmed three kinds of laws: 1. Divine positive law (otherwise known as the Bible). Positive here doesn’t mean the opposite of negative. It means, instead, law that is posited, or given, by a particular executive or legislature. In this case, the lawmaker positing the law is God. 2. Natural law.15 This law, also given by God, isn’t posited; instead, it is discerned by reason.16 Natural law includes God’s In his Teaching Company course “Natural Law and Human Nature,” Joseph Koterski summarizes the Thomistic view that held sway in the Middle Ages regarding post-lapsarian human nature: “Even though human beings suffer from some darkening of intellect and some weakness of will, there remains a certain basic goodness – not enough for anyone to reach salvation on one’s own, but sufficient to make possible such natural virtues as prudence, courage, temperance, and justice.” Koterski, Course Guidebook, 55. 15 Rosenthal, 34 – 37. 16 Koterski defines Thomas Aquinas’s view of natural law: “Natural law refers to the power of our reason to reflect upon 14

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witness to man’s conscience mentioned in the first chapter of Romans.17 If a society doesn’t have posited law like the Ten Commandments, Nature still teaches the society’s members some of those laws. It teaches that murder, adultery, and perjury, for instance, are wrong. Natural law includes some form of due process so that people aren’t jailed based on suspicion alone or based on political expediency.18

Natural law includes one’s right to his life and liberty. Natural law is what Thomas Jefferson referred to in the Declaration of Independence when he referred to “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.” So that’s the second kind of law Hooker recognized.19


our nature so as to determine what is morally required.” (See Koterski, Lectures, lecture 3.) This combines concepts of reason, nature, and morality into a succinct definition of natural law. I also like Princeton University Professor of Politics Paul Sigmund’s summary of natural law: “ . . . there exists in nature and/or human nature a rational order which can provide intelligible value-statements independently of human will, that are universal in application, unchangeable in their ultimate content, and morally obligatory on mankind.” Sigmund, viii. The medieval canon lawyer Gratian in 1139 wrote this definition: “Natural law is the law which is common to all nations because it holds everywhere by an instinct of nature [conscience] and not by an legislative enactment. Such things are included in it as the union of man and woman, the procreation and education of children, possession in common of all things, one freedom for all men, the acquisition of what is taken from the heavens, the earth, and the sea – also, the return of a thing which has been left in trust or of money which has been lent, and resistance to violence by force. For this and anything like this is never considered unjust, but natural and equitable.” Id., 48 – 49. 17 Locke, Reasonableness, Book 1. 18 Cicero, the Roman jurist who was the first to formulate a comprehensive theory of natural law, found that natural law included, “as a minimum, a duty to contribute to society, a concern for justice, and a respect for the life and property of others.” Sigmund, 22 – 23.


The third was this: Hooker acknowledged human positive law enacted by civil authority, such as a legislature. These three laws were understood to exist in a hierarchy: natural law can’t contravene Scripture, and human law can’t violate natural law.20 Therefore, if Calvin’s church or Hobbes’s Rosenthal, 47 – 73. Gratian, a twelfth-century monk from Bologna, seems to have been the first to explicitly assert “a natural principle of judicial review by which an appeal to natural law could annul positive law.” Koterski, Course Guidebook, 51 – 52. See also Sigmund 37. A century later, Aquinas declared that, if a ruler’s law departs from reason, “it has the quality not of a law but of an act of violence.” Id., 39. But the basis for judicial review came earlier. Aristotle, for instance, argued that “if the written law is counter to our case, we must have recourse to the general law and equity, as more in accordance with justice; and we must argue that, when the dicast takes an oath to decide to the best of his judgment, he means that he will not abide rigorously by the written laws; that equity is ever constant and never changes, even as the general law, which is based on nature . . .” Aristotle’s Rhetoric, Book 1, chapter 15. Sigmund, 18 – 19. The jurist Edward Coke probably did the most to pave the way for early American acceptance of judicial review, which began with Marbury vs. Madison (1803). Coke’s “Institutes and Reports were the standard works on British law until the publication of Blackstone’s Commentaries. Editions of Coke were very widely distributed within the colonies, and through them the colonists knew his decisions in Calvin’s Case (1608) and Bonham’s Case 19 20

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king took a man’s property or put him in jail, natural law would require the church or the king to give the man some kind of due process first.

First principles are things that are axiomatic, things that are too basic to be proven. It’s similar to axioms in certain branches of mathematics.

Calvin accepted divine positive law, of course, and human positive law, too, since the church would need to pass particular laws to implement Scripture.

Because of the commutative property of addition, for instance, we understand that 3 + 2 = 2 + 3. It’s axiomatic, and mathematicians can use it to prove things that must be proven to be accepted as true.22


Calvin recognized the existence of natural law, but he gave it such a faint pulse that his followers began to dismiss it. English Calvinism had two objections to natural law. First, since Adam and Eve fell, according to Calvin, mankind has been incapable of reasoning about what Aristotle had called first principles.21 (1609), which defended the superiority of the natural and common law to acts of Parliament and seemed to claim for the judiciary the right to enforce those limits on Parliamentary legislation.” Sigmund, 101. Theories of civil disobedience are based on natural law. Writing pastors from a Birmingham jail cell, Martin Luther King said, “One may well ask: ‘How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?’ The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. “I would agree with St. Augustine that ‘an unjust law is no law at all.’ “Now, what is the difference between the two? How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a manmade code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law.”


Philosophers, too, have often operated under the assumption that one needs first to discover what can be assumed. Rene Descartes, the 17th century French mathematician and philosopher, arrived at his first principle when he declared, “I think; therefore, I am.” Aristotle didn’t narrow his axioms down that much. Aristotle said that first principles “must be known by nature,” which means the principle is “a primary feature of the world, and it is known to us only if we are in the right cognitive condition to discover” it. 23 Individuation is one first principle Aristotle asserted — the idea that everyone is different. The Declaration of Independence introduces first principles by stating, “We hold these truths to be self-evident . . .” That’s first-principle language. But Calvin’s followers would not have started a political document with the declaration that “We hold these truths to be Rosenthal, 47 – 73. One of the most famous natural law theorists, the Dutch Protestant Hugo Grotius (1583 – 1645), sometimes expressed natural law precepts through analogies to mathematics. “Just as even God cannot cause that two times two should not make four, so He cannot cause that that which is intrinsically evil be not evil (Prolegomena, Book I, ch. 1, sec. x, par. 5). Sigmund, 61. 23 Irwin, 5. 21 22

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self-evident.” For them, there were no self-evident truths because man is incapable of good reasoning.

Montessori’s associate E.M. Standing put it, “The child is a philosopher before he can talk, an explorer before he can walk.”26


E. Reason I’ve mentioned reason quite a bit. Reason in what sense? Reason allows us to move from the specific to the general, to move from natural phenomena to principles.24 If you’re into logic, it’s inductive reasoning. It’s the reasoning even the youngest children use to move from the concrete to the abstract. Reason in this sense is not synonymous with logic or rationalism. Maria Montessori believed that the child’s reason begins to function at birth. She wrote: “The baby starts from nothing; it is an active being going forward by its own powers. Let us go straight to the point. The axis round which the internal working revolves is reason [emphasis original]. Such reason must be looked upon as a natural creative function that little by little buds and develops and assumes concrete form from the images it absorbs from the environment. Here is the irresistible force, the primordial energy. Images fall at once into pattern at the service of reason. It is in the service of reason that the child first absorbs such images . . .”25 As Our culture, of course, associates reason with logic and with such professions as science and law. But morality and natural law have been associated with reason since the Stoics (third- to first-century B.C.). “They viewed nature as permeated with reason, which was understood to be a moral force from which ethical norms could be derived. All men by the use of their reason were capable of perceiving universal moral laws . . .” Sigmund, 30. 25 Standing, 206. Montessori, like John Locke and writers within the Christian tradition, associated the discovery of what 24


The reason that allows a normalized child27 to absorb impressions and images and to learn from them is the same reason that allows an open and honest adult28 to experience nature and discover what Aristotle and Aquinas called natural laws. John Locke, the philosopher that most influenced our nation’s Founding Fathers, believed with Aquinas and Hooker that Jefferson calls “moral law” with reason. Discussing the Western world’s “moral paralysis,” Montessori said, “reason today is hidden under a dark cloud and has almost gone down to defeat. Moral chaos in fact is nothing but one side of the coin of our psychic decline; the other side is the loss of our powers of reason. The pre-eminent characteristic of our present state is an insidious madness, and our most immediate need a return to reason.” Montessori, Education and Peace, 13 – 14. 26 Standing, 102. 27 Montessori’s concept of a “normalized child” is remarkably Aristotelian. For all intents and purposes it is how Koterski defines Aristotle’s concept of nature: “The natural is not just the ‘average’ or the ‘normal’ but what is ‘normative’ for the full maturation of an individual in its species” (emphasis original). Koterski, Course Guidebook, 13. 28 An amplified version of “open and honest adult” might be Koterski’s: natural law is “written upon our very being, written on the heart. And if we look conscientiously enough at what is written on our hearts, if we look at that to which all human beings are inclined, and we start sorting out those things that are just self interested from that which is needed by everybody in order to be a human being, full and mature and flourishing, [Aquinas] thinks we’ll be able to see what some of these natural law obligations and natural rights are.” Koterski, Lecture 3.

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man’s reason wasn’t so far gone because of the fall that he couldn’t learn first principles. If Locke was wrong, Montessori was wrong.

political scientist, has defined reason as “instruction by the law of nature.”34 In this respect, we see that reason is the discovery of law, be it scientific or moral. This reasoning is shared by children, scientists, and philosophers. Children reason from the concrete to discover abstract laws. Scientists reason from natural phenomena to discover scientific laws. Philosophers reason from what nature teaches about morality to discover natural law. Of course, since natural law is discoverable through reason, you don’t have to be a child, a scientist, or a philosopher to discover it in any of its forms.


Of course, children reason incorrectly quite often, and so do adults.29 But the child is not so benighted that he cannot learn, just as an adult, by the grace of God, can learn the principles of natural law — principles that Nature30 and Nature’s God can show him through his ability to reason.31 The Greeks and Romans define law as reason. Aristotle defines law as “reason unaffected by desire.”32 Cicero, the great Roman lawyer and philosopher, goes so far as to equate reason with natural law itself: “True law is Reason, right and natural, commanding people to fulfill their obligations and prohibiting and deterring them from doing wrong. Its validity is universal; it is immutable and eternal.”33 Harry V. Jaffa, a modern The Greek Stoics (about 300 B.C.) championed “right reason in accord with nature.” As Koterski has pointed out, “right reason” suggests that “reason can operate rightly or wrongly.” Koterski, Course Guidebook, 33. 30 Koterski explains Aristotle’s view on how nature teaches: “Nature can thus be seen as the internal principle of something’s development and typical activities. For example, if we see a caterpillar, then a cocoon, and then a butterfly, we might think we have three different kinds of things. Yet, by observing over time, we see a common nature unfolding from within the being. The natural is not just the ‘average’ or the ‘normal’ but what is ‘normative’ for the full maturation of an individual in its species” (emphasis original). Koterski, Course Guidebook, 13. 31 For Cicero, according to Sigmund, “right reason” is “a moral faculty which enables man to distinguish between good and evil, and to perceive what is in accordance with man’s nature.” 32 Aristotle, Book 3, Part XVI. Locke also defined natural law as reason. Political Writings, 263. 29


It’s no coincidence, by the way, that Locke’s understanding of natural law resembles Maria Montessori’s understanding of nature’s order in teaching children. Locke’s book on Cicero, Book 1, Section 33. Cicero’s statement is a famous claim for law’s moral standard. Without such “an objective moral basis for law, it is difficult to see why there is any general obligation of obedience, and unless there is a universal priority in moral law, there could be no reasonable basis for civil disobedience against ‘unjust laws.’ All there would ever be would be power struggles.” Koterski, Course Guidebook, 95 – 96. 34 Jaffa, New Birth, 417. The philosopher perhaps most responsible for disconnecting nature and morality in the modern mind is Immanuel Kant (1724 – 1804). Ever since Kant, “it has seemed naïve to think them connected, given the wedge he drove between the world of nature and the world of morality. Where the ancients saw similarity and continuity between the laws of nature and the laws of morality, Kant stresses the differences. . . . In order to be a moral principle, a precept [for Kant] needs to be chosen for oneself, not imposed by someone else or by ‘nature’ . . .” Koterski, Course Guidebook, 79 – 80. The common and relativistic commendation of my early adult years that someone has “an ethic” may be traced to this “categorical imperative” concept of Kant’s. 33

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The Nature of Government

educational theory entitled Some Thoughts Concerning Education outsold his more famous Second Treatise on Government, and the book advocates many of the same things Montessori later advocates. What Montessori called “sensitive periods in development” Locke earlier called “favorable seasons of aptitude and inclination.”35 Locke believed that children have an innate ability to teach themselves, and that the teacher should be primarily a guide. He believed that children had individual talents and interests, that punishments and rewards were ineffective in education, and that it was foolish to teach young children fantasy.36 Locke and Montessori, not surprisingly, were both trained physicians. And just as Locke’s beliefs about human nature connected his writings about education and government,37 so Montessori believed that her insights into childhood education might one day lead to what Standing called “a more harmonious type of humanity,”38 which might describe a goal of government.

and so do his prophets. Isaiah begins his book by quoting God: “Come, let us reason together.”40 Samuel reasoned with Israel when they asked for a king.41 Paul reasoned with the Jews in the synagogue many Sabbaths, the Bible says.42


Both Locke’s and Montessori’s theories are based on people’s God-given ability to reason.39 God himself reasons with people, Locke, Some Thoughts, Sec. 74. Locke, Some Thoughts. 37 See gen. Grant. 38 Standing, 180. 39 Locke’s theory of government is not unique in this respect. As the English political scientist Ernest Barker said, “The rational faculty of man was conceived as producing a common conception of law and order which possessed a universal validity. . . . This common conception included, as its three great notes, the three values of Liberty, Equality and the brotherhood or Fraternity of all mankind. This common conception, and its three great notes, have formed a European set of ideas for over two thousand years. It was a set of ideas which lived and moved in the Middle Ages; and St. Thomas Aquinas cherished the idea of a sovereign law of nature 35 36


Don’t be prejudiced against reason. Don’t let your views on historical periods such as the Age of Enlightenment and the Age of Reason make you think that reason is inherently bad.43 imprinted in the heart and nature of man, to which kings and legislators must everywhere bow.” Lippmann, 97 – 99. 40 Isaiah 1:18. 41 1 Samuel 12:7. 42 Acts 17:2, 18:4, 18:19, and 24:25. 43 Professor Thomas Williams, Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies at the University of South Florida, begins his “The Great Courses” course entitled “Reason & Faith: Philosophy in the Middle Ages” with these remarks: “This course is designed to give you an account of that medieval project of faith seeking understanding. It is a project that is at odds with a view that is pretty widely shared today, the view that there is a fundamental tension between reason and faith, between philosophy and religion. A lot of philosophers certainly seem to think so. Philosophy, after all, depends on argument and evidence. Philosophers seek to establish their views on the basis of reason. Faith comes in only where evidence and argument fail. If you have sufficient evidence for something, sufficient reason for believing it, well, you don’t need to take it on faith. You know it. So, many philosophers are inclined to think that faith is fundamentally at odds with reasoned argument. “But it’s not just philosophers who think there is a tension between reason and religion. A lot of religious believers think so, too. Christians might even quote scripture in support of such a view. . . . “The view that faith and reason, religion and philosophy are at odds is very common today. But it’s an idea that the great

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The Nature of Government

It’s good, though separated from nature the facility for reason is often used for evil. Reason requires an open and honest mind to work well, but it’s part of what has survived the Fall. Certainly we must hear God, but we must also reason. Here’s Thomas Merton, the Trappist monk and spiritual writer, on one of the advantages of reason: “It is much easier to pervert an inward ‘sense,’ which is something undefined, than to tamper with the light of reason.” Here’s another advantage to reason Merton pointed out: “Truth reveals itself to the light of reason in a way that can be shared in the same way by all who use that light.”44Locke believed that to despair of reason in favor of revelation and miracles alone was, as Professor Ruth Grant put it, “to imply an imperfect creation of the natural world.”45

evident to non-Christians, however, is mankind’s ability to reason. If we believe with Calvin that post-lapsarian man cannot reason about first principles, then we’ve blurred the line between man and beast as much as any Darwinist has.46


Our ability to reason is one way to demonstrate our difference from animals. There are a few scriptural ways of distinguishing mankind from the rest of the animals. The one that is chiefly medieval Christian thinkers would have found bewildering. “In this course, we will examine a thousand-year period in which faith was not blind and reason was not godless, in which the great philosophers and the great theologians were the very same people, and no one saw anything particularly surprising about that.” The agreement, described here by Williams, between many modern philosophers and many modern Christians that faith and reason are incompatible is similar to the agreement between the philosopher Hobbes and the theologian Cartwright that societies cannot govern themselves. (David Wootton has pointed out that “there is no evidence that Locke ever concluded that reason and faith were incompatible.” Wootton, 70.) 44 Merton, Ascent, 247. 45 Grant, 39.


What about revelation? Doesn’t reason do away with revelation? I’ll answer that as Jesus answered a similar question: reason didn’t come to destroy revelation. Nay: it came to establish it. Here’s Standing from his book about Montessori on the subject: “Reason must be there as a foundation in the natural order, before it can be raised by faith to the supernatural. Or to put it the other way round, God does not — we might almost say could not in the nature of things — grant the gift of faith to a being like an animal ‘who lacked discourse of reason.’”47 Reason, you see, is a foundation for revelation.48 I’ll return to Thomas Merton, who asserted that “reason is the key to the mystical life in so far as it helps a man to shape his whole life by the teaching and authority of Christ living and Jeremy Waldron says that women and men “are created in the image of God and endowed with the modicum of reason that is, for Locke, the criterion of human equality.” Waldron, 22. 47 Standing, 206. 48 Certainly reason and nature are not sufficient for salvation or for spiritual growth. Sigmund sums up Aquinas’s view: “Natural law is only an imperfect way of knowing God’s purposes while man is still on earth, and it cannot bring him to his true fulfillment. Divine revelation provides a much more complete guide, and the life of grace enables man to attain heights of spirituality which he could not attain by nature. Even if it were possible, a life of natural virtue in Aristotelian terms would not completely satisfy man nor fully perfect him.” Sigmund, 46. 46


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acting in His visible church.”49 Reason prepares us for a life of mystery and revelation.

F. Peroration I haven’t gotten to my big points yet. That’ll come in another episode. But I trust you’re beginning to see a bigger picture of what we have to offer the younger generation both in education and in civil government, and of how those two might be connected. Keep Montessori in mind as we begin to flesh out these notions of equality, natural law, hermeneutics, and generational theory. And, to return our attention to the fall of man, just as Hooker had to meet arguments by Calvin’s follower Cartwright about the effect of original sin,50 so Montessori had to address the accusation that she had disproved the doctrine of original sin. Here was Montessori’s response: “Order does not necessarily imply goodness. It neither demonstrates that ‘man is born good’ or that ‘he is born evil.’ It only demonstrates that nature, in the process of constructing man, passes through an established order. Order is not goodness; but perhaps it is the indispensable road to arrive at it.”51 This is what Aquinas, Hooker, and Locke were discovering, not (except for Locke) in the realm of education, but in the realm of government. What Locke and Montessori began to do for education, Aquinas, Hooker, and Locke began to do for civil government: to show God’s order as taught through nature. And just as Montessori’s ideas have received considerable Merton, Ascent, 247. Locke also was accused of disbelieving the doctrine of original sin. See Waldron, 28. 51 Standing, 181. 49

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resistance since her death, so has natural law been dismissed without a fair hearing time and again. But it will be needed again in this coming crisis, just as it has been needed approximately every eighty years since the republic’s founding.52 And it’s in this time of approaching national crisis53 that I’d like to return to this episode’s opening question: is selfgovernment possible? It’s too easy to say no. It’s also too easy to say yes. I’d like to consider how I might answer it when the existence of America’s government is once again threatened as it was almost eighty years ago, and as it was eighty years before that, and as it was eighty years before that. My favorite approach is that of Raskolnikov, the protagonist in Dostoevsky’s novel Crime and Punishment. Facing an extreme personal crisis in which he found himself powerless against his own urge to murder, he said, “‘Man is a vile creature! . . . And vile is he who calls him vile for that!’ he added a moment later.”54 Raskolnikov’s ambivalence about the nature of man shows that his crisis brought the issue front and center. As a nation and as the nation’s church, we’ll be struggling with the notion of selfgovernment for the same reason. Let’s stay with the question. Perhaps we shouldn’t answer it too quickly. So we’ve examined the first of Cartwright’s objections to natural law: his view that, since the fall of man, man his been unable to reason about things pertaining to God. In the process of our examination, we’ve found some shortcomings in Cartwright’s view. We’ve learned something about what reason is, how reason is associated with nature, and how necessary reason is in preparing us for, and keeping us safe in, a life of revelation.


Half a century ago, Walter Lippmann noted the cyclical reintroduction of natural law in Western countries’ hours of 52


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The Nature of Government


Video 2: The Meaning of Equality A. Calvin’s Second Rationale: Equality

need: “The long life of this idea [natural law] and, above all, the recurring revival of the idea in all ages, would seem to indicate that it reflects a wide and recurring human need – that it is involved with practical questions of policy in the face of recurring political problems.” Lippmann, 102 – 109. 53 It was a national crisis that got Locke himself in the philosophy business. David Wootton: Locke did not “embark upon philosophical inquiry because he was seeking the intellectual foundations on which one could build a defense of toleration. . . . He became a philosopher because he thought that the interests of the clergy, the universities, and the Crown were at odds with the constitutional status quo. He saw the task of the philosopher as being to preserve the existing order against the subversive threat of change. Where custom was no longer reliable, truth must come to its support.” Wootton, 48. Just before a national crisis, custom always becomes unreliable. I’m suggesting here that, given the age we live in, our interest in political philosophy, like Locke’s, should not be merely, or even primarily, academic. Wootton’s summary of Locke’s motives applies to us in another respect: as radical as natural law may look to today’s liberals and conservatives, it is really a call to “the constitutional status quo” our age has largely abandoned. 54 Dostoevsky.

Welcome back to the Possibility of Self-Government. This is video 2, entitled the Meaning of Equality. In our first episode, we learned that a question that has preoccupied the Revolutionary War and Civil War generations was whether self-government could, as Lincoln put it, “long endure.” We saw that the institution or survival of self-government has become an issue for Americans approximately every eighty years since the Revolutionary War. We learned that Thomas Hobbes and the English followers of John Calvin, for different reasons, answered the question, no. Man is not capable of governing himself. We focused most of the episode on Calvin from the not-possible camp. We saw that Richard Hooker, countering Calvinism in sixteenth century England, asserted three kinds of laws: divine positive law (also known as the Bible), natural law, and human positive law. Positive law, you recall, is law posited by a lawgiver, usually in written form. Cartwright, Calvin’s follower, denied the existence of the second of these — natural law — unwritten law that men discern from reason and nature. Cartwright’s first objection concerned the underlying assumption of natural law, that people can reason about what Aristotle called first principles, the building blocks to all the important knowledge. First principles include axiomatic mathematical, physical, and moral law. Calvin’s English followers believed that the Fall of Adam left mankind without


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The Nature of Government


Works Cited Aristotle, and W. D. Ross. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Nicomachean Ethics. The Internet Classics Archive, 2009. Web. 22 July 2013. <>. Aristotle. "Book 3, Part XVI." Trans. Benjamin Jowett. N.p.: n.p., n.d. N. pag. Politics. The Internet Classics Archive, 2009. Web. 22 July 2013. <>.

and workable conceptions of popular election, majority rule, representative assemblies, free speech, loyalty, property, corporations and voluntary associations. The founders of these institutions, which the recently enfranchised democracies have inherited, were all of them adherents of some one of the various schools of natural law.” Lippmann, 100 – 101. A task of our more spiritually oriented generation is to pass on to a younger, more civic-minded generation the spiritual foundations of the civil concepts that we have enjoyed our whole lives. 206 Many of us are just now learning that the moralistic crusades of the Boomer generation’s middle years have hurt more than they have helped. The American church’s involvement with politics seems always to be the most counterproductive during what Strauss and Howe called the “unraveling years” between spiritual awakenings and civil crises. Strauss, Fourth Turning, 201 – 253. And here I am suggesting that the church needs to work out a biblical framework with which to reengage in civil matters when the time comes. An unraveling era, however, is very different from a civil crisis. There’s such a thing as learning a lesson too well, or, more precisely, there’s such a thing as understanding the times, like the children of Issachar, “to know what Israel ought to do.” 1 Chronicles 12:32.

Arkes, Hadley. Constitutional Illusions and Anchoring Truths: The Touchstone of the Natural Law. New York: Cambridge UP, 2010. Print. "The Barbary Treaties 1786-1816 - Treaty of Peace and Friendship, Signed at Tripoli November 4, 1796." Avalon Project. Yale Law School, 2008. Web. 22 July 2013. <>. Bork, Robert H. The Tempting of America: The Political Seduction of the Law. New York: Free, 1990. Print. Calhoun, John C. "Speech on the Oregon Bill." Teaching American History. Ashbrook Center at Ashland University, 2012. Web. 22 July 2013. < gon-bill-speech/>. Chernow, Ron. Washington: A Life. New York: Penguin, 2011. Print. Cherry, Kendra. "Hierarchy of Needs." Psychology., n.d. Web. 22 July 2013. < hierarchyneeds.htm>. Cicero, Marcus Tullius. De Re Publica: Selections. Ed. James E. G. Zetzel. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ., 1995. Print. Covey, Stephen R. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People:


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Restoring the Character Ethic. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1989. Print. Danto, Arthur C. "The Pursuit of Happiness, Then and Now." Thoughts on a Declaration. The New York Times, 2 July 2010. Web. 22 July 2013. < ts-on-a-declaration/>. De Tocqueville, Alexis. Democracy in America. Trans. Henry Reeve. N.p.:, 2013. The Gutenberg Project, 2013. Web. 22 July 2013. Diggins, John P. On Hallowed Ground: Abraham Lincoln and the Foundations of American History. New Haven: Yale UP, 2000. Print. Dostoevsky, Fyodor. Trans. Constance Garnett. Crime and Punishment. New York: Heritage, 1938. Print. Ehrlich, Eugene, comp. "Teleology." Oxford American Dictionary. New York: Avon, 1982. Print. Erler, Edward J. "Harry Jaffa and Original Intent Jurisprudence." Introduction. Storm over the Constitution. By Harry V. Jaffa. Lanham, MD: Lexington, 1999. Xvii-Xl. Print. Goodheart, Adam. 1861: The Civil War Awakening. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2011. Print. Grant, Ruth Weissbourd. John Locke's Liberalism. Chicago: University of Chicago, 1991. Print. Guelzo, Allen C. Abraham Lincoln: Redeemer President. Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans, 1999. Print. Guelzo, Allen C. Lincoln and Douglas: The Debates That Defined America. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2008. Print. "GW's Reply to the Hebrew Congregation." Papers of George Washington. University of Virginia, 2011. Web. 02 Aug. 2013. < ml>. Hamilton, Alexander, James Madison, and John Jay. The Federalist Papers. Ed. Clinton Rossiter and Charles R. Kesler. New York, NY: Signet Classic, 2003. Print.

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Hobbes, Thomas, and Edwin Curley M. Leviathan with Selected Variants from the Latin Edition of 1668. Indianapolis: Hackett, 1994. Print. "Holocaust History." Nazi Propaganda. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, D.C., 10 June 2013. Web. 22 July 2013. < 005274>. Holzer, Harold. Lincoln President-elect: Abraham Lincoln and the Great Secession Winter 1860-1861. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2008. Print. "Homeland Generation." Lifecourse Associates: Homeland Generation. LifeCourse Associates, 2013. Web. 10 Aug. 2013. <>. Hutson, James H. "The Founding Fathers and Islam: Library Papers Show Early Tolerance for Muslim Faith." Library of Congress. Library of Congress, May 2002. Web. 2 Aug. 2013. <>. Irwin, Terence. Aristotle's First Principles. Oxford: Clarendon, 1988. Print. Jaffa, Harry V. Crisis of the House Divided: An Interpretation of the Issues in the Lincoln-Douglas Debates. Chicago: University of Chicago, 1982. Print. Jaffa, Harry V. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The False Prophets of American Conservatism.â&#x20AC;? The Claremont Institute. The Claremont Institute, 12 Feb. 1998. Web. 09 Oct. 2010. < etail.asp>. Jaffa, Harry V. A New Birth of Freedom: Abraham Lincoln and the Coming of the Civil War. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2000. Print. Jaffa, Harry V. "What Were the 'Original Intentions' of the Framers of the Constitution of the United States?" University of Puget Sound Law Review 10 (1987): 351-448. Web. 22 July 2013. < gi?article=1246&context=sulr>. [Give the article lots of time

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to load.]

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1955. Print.

Jefferson, Thomas. "Jefferson's First Inaugural Address." The Avalon Project. Yale Law School, 2008. Web. 22 July 2013. <>.

Locke, John. "Book 1." N.p.: n.p., n.d. N. pag. The Reasonableness of Christianity, as Delivered in the Scriptures. The Liberty Fund. Web. 22 July 2013.

Jefferson, Thomas. Letter to Roger Weightman. 4 June 1826. N.p.: n.p., n.d. N. pag. Thomas Jefferson to Roger Weightman. Library of Congress. Web. 22 July 2013. <>.

Locke, John. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Some Thoughts Concerning Education. Amazon Digital Services, Inc. Web. 22 July 2013.

Johnson, David E. John Randolph of Roanoke. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State UP, 2012. Print. Kaplan, Fred. Lincoln: The Biography of a Writer. New York: Harper Perennial, 2010. Print. Kesler, Charles R. "Introduction." Introduction. The Federalist Papers. New York: Signet Classic, 2003. Vii-Xxxi. Print. King, Martin L. "Letter from Birmingham Jail." Newseum, 2013. Web. 9 Aug. 2013. <>. Koterski, Joseph. Natural Law and Human Nature: Course Guidebook. Chantilly, VA: Teaching, 2002. Print. Koterski, Joseph. "Natural Law and Human Nature." Lecture. The Great Courses. The Teaching Company, LLC, 2008. Web. 24 July 2013. <>. Levin, Yuval. "The Real Debate." The Weekly Standard. The Weekly Standard, LLC, 18 Oct. 2012. Web. 26 July 2013. <>.

Locke, John. Political Writings of John Locke. Ed. David Wootton. New York: Mentor, 1993. Print. Merton, Thomas. The Ascent to Truth. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1981. Print. Merton, Thomas. New Seeds of Contemplation. New York: New Directions, 1972. Print. Montessori, Maria. Education and Peace. Trans. Helen R. Lane. Amsterdam: Montessori-Pierson Pub., 2007. Print. Oates, Stephen B. With Malice toward None: A Life of Abraham Lincoln. New York: HarperPerennial, 1994. Print. Rohr, Richard. Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2011. Print. Roosevelt, Franklin D. "Franklin D. Roosevelt: Acceptance Speech for the Renomination for the Presidency, Philadelphia, Pa." The American Presidency Project. Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, 2013. Web. 22 July 2013. Rosenthal, Alexander S. Crown under Law: Richard Hooker, John Locke, and the Ascent of Modern Constitutionalism. Lanham, MD: Lexington, 2008. Print. Sigmund, Paul E. Natural Law in Political Thought. Cambridge: Winthrop, 1971. Print.

Lincoln, Abraham, Mario Matthew. Cuomo, and Harold Holzer. Lincoln on Democracy: His Own Words, with Essays by America's Foremost Historians. New YorK: HarperCollins, 1991. Print.

Smith, Jean Edward. John Marshall: Definer of a Nation. New York: Holt, 1996. Print.

Lincoln, Abraham, Stephen A. Douglas, and Harold Holzer. The Lincoln-Douglas Debates: The First Complete, Unexpurgated Text. New York: HarperCollins, 1993. Print.

Stephens, Peter. "American Unexceptionalism." Slow Reads. Slow Press, 3 Sept. 2012. Web. 26 July 2013. <>.

Lippmann, Walter. The Public Philosophy. Boston: Little, Brown,

Standing, E. M. Maria Montessori, Her Life and Work. New York: Plume, 1998. Print.


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Stephens, Peter. "An Appeal to Heaven." Slow Reads. Slow Press, 17 Apr. 2011. Web. 22 July 2013. <>. Stephens, Peter. "Conventions and Protocols." Slow Reads. Slow Press, 5 Nov. 2012. Web. 26 July 2013. <>. Stephens, Peter. "Happiness Is . . ." Slow Reads. Slow Press, 4 July 2010. Web. 22 July 2013. <>. Stephens, Peter. "Liberty and Inequality." Slow Reads. Slow Press, 21 July 2013. Web. 26 July 2013. <>. Stephens, Peter. "Lockean Liberalism." Slow Reads. Slow Press, 17 Apr. 2011. Web. 22 July 2013. <>. Stephens, Peter. "The Middle Way." Slow Reads. Slow Press, 17 Apr. 2011. Web. 22 July 2013. Stephens, Peter. "The Mysticism of Abraham Lincoln." Slow Reads. Slow Press, 12 Feb. 2009. Web. 22 July 2013. <>. Stephens, Peter. "Natural Law Jurisprudence." Slow Reads. Slow Press, 17 Apr. 2011. Web. 22 July 2013. <>. Stephens, Peter. "A Pocket Constitution." Slow Reads. Slow Press, 17 Apr. 2011. Web. 22 July 2013. <>. Stephens, Peter. "Political Religion." Slow Reads. Slow Press, 21 Jan. 2009. Web. 22 July 2013. <>. Stephens, Peter. "Texas's Successive Secessions." Slow Reads. Slow Press, 3 May 2009. Web. 27 July 2013.

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<â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s-successivesecessions/>. Strauss, William, and Neil Howe. The Fourth Turning: An American Prophecy. New York: Broadway, 1997. Print. Strauss, William, and Neil Howe. Generations: The History of America's Future, 1584 to 2069. New York: Morrow, 1991. Print. Tolson, Jay. "The Faith of Our Fathers." US News. U.S.News & World Report, 20 June 2004. Web. 02 Aug. 2013. < /28faith.htm>. Tuck, Richard. Natural Rights Theories: Their Origin and Development. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1979. Print. Waldron, Jeremy. God, Locke, and Equality: Christian Foundations of John Locke's Political Thought. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2002. Print. Warren, Louis A. Lincoln's Gettysburg Declaration: "A New Birth of Freedom." Fort Wayne: Lincoln National Life Foundation, 1964. Print. Williams, Thomas. "Reason & Faith: Philosophy in the Middle Ages." Lecture. The Great Courses. The Teaching Company, LLC, 2008. Web. 24 July 2013. <>.


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Index Abolitionism Living Constitution and, 106 Abortion. See Roe v. Wade Abrahamic covenant, 88, 92, 93, 96, 98 Absolutist conception of government rights of man versus, 53 Adam and Eve, 23, 39, 61 Age of Enlightenment, 29 Age of Reason, 29 American democracy natural law and, 49 American exceptionalism Equality clause and, 115 American Revolution, 85 French Revolution versus, 77 Anti-federalists natural rights, popular sovereignty, and, 75 Appeal to Heaven, an, 62, 118 Apples of gold analogy, 94, 97, 104, 105 Aquinas, Thomas, 19, 20, 33 natural law and, 116 on government and nature, 70

right of revolution and, 57 unjust laws and, 22 Aristotle, 23, 26 judicial review and, 21 on government and nature, 70 Augustine on government, 70 on unjust laws, 22 Baby Boomer generation, 84, 119 Barker,Ernest, 28 Biblical principles of government, 14, 99 Bill of Rights, 75, 117 Bork, Robert majority morality and, 82 Born again, command to be, 103 Brennan, William, 105 Calhoun, John C. Declaration of Independence and, 106 state of nature concept, 59, 61 states’ rights and, 56 Calvin on equality, 37 Calvin, John, 17, 18, 24, 31

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Calvinism, 18, 19 Christian nation and, 112 Cartwright, Thomas, 18, 32, 34 Charismatic Renewal, 86 Christian Coalition, 120 Christian nation, 14, 99, 111 Church history American history modeled in, 101 Cicero, 26, 27 Civil disobedience natural law and, 22 Civil outlook, 86 Civil War, 118 Civil War amendments, 89 Communism, 43 Compact theory, 58, 100 Biblical covenants and, 100 Constitution Declaration of Independence's relationship to, 93, 96, 104 relationship with Declaration and Civil War amendments, 89 Constitutional government origins of, 58 Constitutional hemeneutics. See Hermeneutics Covenants relationship among biblical, 88–102 Covey, Stephen, 68 Crimes Against Humanity


natural law and, 49 Crisis, national, 33, 85 Culture wars, 86 Dalai Lama, 87 de Tocqueville, Alex, 16 Declaration of Independence, 21, 23 Constitution's relationship to, 93, 96, 104 Immigrants and, 98 Seeds of new birth of freedom in, 89 Deists, 46 Descartes, Rene, 23 Dostoevsky, Fyodor, 34 Douglas, Stephen, 78, 90 Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 and, 73 popular sovereignty, 67 Rousseau, Jean-Jaques, 77 Dred Scott Popular Sovereignty and, 79 Roe v. Wade and, 80 Economic equality, 39, 49 English Constitution, 19 Equality, 35–50 American history and, 116 hierarchy and, 42–50 kingdom of God principles and, 48 liberty and, 40 morality and, 40 relation to natural law, 38


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Equality clause American exceptionalism and, 115 Gettysburg Address and, 113 Lincoln on, 115 Eudemonia, 68 Faith and reason, 30 Fascism, 43 Federalist Papers, 15 Federalists natural rights, popular sovereignty, and, 75 Fire called down from heaven, 88 First Great Awakening, 85 First Principles, 23, 37 First-half-of-life religion, 87, 89 Fort Sumter crisis, 119 Founding Fathers, 113 on liberalism, 46 slavery and, 105 Founding of nation God's involvement in, 99 Freedom. See Liberty French Revolution American Revolution versus, 77 G.I. Generation, 16, 14–16, 86 Garfield, James A., 77 Garrison, William Lloyd constitutional hermeneutic of, 105 Gen X’er genaration, 84 Generational cycles, 14, 84, 116

natural law and, 118 unraveling years and, 120 Gettysburg Address, 15, 98 expression of America's journey in, 101 mature notion of political religion expressed in, 90 religious language in, 112 Glorious Revolution, 85 Government nature and, 70 Gratian, 21 Great Awakening, 116 Grotius, Hugo, 100 Hamilton, Alexander, 15 Happiness definition of, 65 virtue and, 67 Happiness, pursuit of, 64– 71 prayer and, 65 teleology and, 65 Hay, John, 114 Hebrews, book of teaching on relationships among covenants in, 88–102 Henry, Patrick, 75 state sovereignty and, 56 Hermeneutics Constitution's, 103–9 definition of, 87 Hierarchy equality and, 42–50 of fulfillment, 68 of law, 21

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Hierarchy of Needs, 69 Hippias, 44 Hippie movement, 86 Hobbes, Thomas, 17, 18 compact theory and, 100 on natural law, 41 state of nature and, 52 Holocaust from groundwork of inequality, 43 Homeland Generation, 16 Hooker, Richard, 19, 26, 33 natural law and, 116 triple perfection and, 69 Immigrants Declaration of Independence and, 98 Inalienable rights, 62 Inductive reasoning, 24 Issachar children of, 120 Jefferson, Thomas constitutional hermeneutics of, 104, 108 majority rule and, 76 on equality, 38 on nature's teaching, 44 Jesus, 86, 88, 95 Christian nation and, 112 second-half-of-life spirituality as taught by, 91 Jesus Movement, 86 John Paul II, 113 Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, 67, 73, 80, 90 Kant, Immanuel, 27


liberty and, 67 Kosmokrator, 13 Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God, 21 Levi, 92 Levin, Yuval, 76 Liberal definition of, 46 Liberal-conservative divide, 14, 85 Liberalism virtue and, 66 Liberalism, Lockean American Revolution and, 77 belief in God and, 47 definition of, 46 reasonable will of majority, 76 Liberalism, modern French Revolution and, 77 Liberty as inalienable right, 61 equality and, 40 Kant, Immanuel and, 67 Life as inalienable right, 61 Lincoln, Abraham, 15, 72, 78 apples of gold analogy by, 94 as American apostle, 100 compact theory and, 100 constitutional hermeneutics of, 103, 108


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Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 and, 73 majority rule and, 74, 83 on equality, 38 on nature teaching equality, 45 on Northern war aims, 114 on secession and natural law, 57 political religion and, 89 popular sovereignty and, 74 religion of, 99 rights of man and, 54 William Lloyd Garrison and, 105 Lippmann, Walter, 12 natural law, necessity of, 119 positivism, 118 Living constitution, 13, 105 Locke, John, 28, 33, 36, 46 as a Christian apologist, 52 commonalities with Montessori, 28 Compact theory and, 100 natural law and, 116 on Hobbes, 41 on reason, 26, 31 Self-government and, 110 slavery and, 74 state of nature and, 52 Utopia and, 49 Madison, James, 95

constitutional hermeneutics of, 104, 108 Majority morality, 82 Marshall, John, 109 Maslow, Abraham, 69 Mason, George, 75 Melchizedek, 92 Merton, Thomas on equality and natural law, 40, 45 on reason, 30 Millennial Generation, 16 Missouri Compromise, 73 Montessori, Maria, 28 commonalities with John Locke, 28 insights, 14 on original sin, 32 on reason, 24, 31 pursuit of happiness and, 66 Moral law, 25 Moral Majority, 120 Morality equality and, 40 Mosaic covenant, 87, 88, 91, 93, 96, 97 Myth state of nature and, 59 Natural law, 19, 20, 103 American democracy and, 49 Constitutional hermeneutics and, 109 definition of, 111 examples of, 117

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honest heart needed to discern, 25 necessity of, 119 public philosophy and, 13 relation to equality, 38 strict constructionism and, 107 vagueness inherent in, 117 Nature as teacher, 20, 26, 42 government and, 70 Nature and Natureâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s God, 26 New birth of freedom, 89 Civil War and, 98, 100 New covenant, 88, 97 Second Inaugrual Address and, 90 Nicodemus. See Normalized child, 25 Northwest Ordinance, 104 Nuremberg trials natural law and, 49 Original intent, 12 strict construction versus, 109 Original sin, 32 Orthodox Church, 117 Patriarchalism, 52, 58 Peoria speech Inauguration of more mature political religion in, 90 Pharisees, 87, 88 Physical world as teacher, 36 Political religion, 89


Popular Sovereignty Dred Scott decision and, 78, 79 Lincoln's rejection of before Sumpter crisis, 119 Stephen Douglas and, 73 Positive law, 92 divine, 19 human, 21 Positivism, 118 Progressive Generation, 15 Property as inalienable right, 61 Public philosophy natural law and, 13 Puritan Awakening, 85 Randolph, Edmund, 75 Raskolnikov, 34, 45 Reason, 18, 20, 24, 27, 28, 30, 83 as universal, 37 definition of, 24 equality and, 38 faith and, 30 revelation and, 31 Rehnquist, William, 107 Republican generation, 15 Revelation and reason, 31 Revolutionary War, 116, 118 Right of revolution Medieval origins of, 57 when permissibly exercised, 63 Rights of man absolutist conception of government versus, 53


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our identity as sons of God and, 54 Rights, nature of, 72–83 Roe v. Wade and Dred Scott decision, 80 Romans, Letter to, 20 Rousseau, Jean-Jacques, 77 Sabbath law, 87 Scalia, Antonin, 80, 81 Scientists reasoning of, 27 Secession American Revolution compared with, 58 right of revolution and, 57 Second half of life, 84 Second Inaugural Address of Lincoln, 90, 101 Second Treatise on Government Tone of, 110 Self-government possibility of, 14–16, 34 Slavery, 43, 55, 73, 78, 89 based on groundwork of inequality, 44 John Locke and, 74 three antebellum views of, 72 Spirit, soul, and body life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness and, 69 State of nature, 51–64

Genesis's creation story and, 61 medieval scholastics and, 59 State of war, 60 State sovereignty, 55 States’ rights, 55 secession and, 55 slavery and, 55 Stoics, 26, 38 Strict constructionism, 12 moral relativism inherent in, 108 Secessionism's relationship to, 106 Talmud, 97 Teacher as exemplifying two heiarchies, 48 Teleology, 65 Ten Commandments, 20 The Federalist On responsibility and republicanism, 75 Travers, Walter, 17 Unjust laws, 22 Unraveling years, 120 Virtue happiness and, 66 Washington’s Cruiser jack, 63, 118 Whig party on eqality, 39 self-made man and, 54 World War II, 118 Zeitgeist, 13, 67

About the Author Peter Stephens practiced trial law for sixteen years, helped pastor a church for six years, and has taught high school English ever since. Born in Tidewater, Virginia, Stephens graduated from the University of Virginia and the College of William & Mary Law School. He, his wife Victoria, and their two children live in Northern Virginia.



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