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The Principle of Rule of Law

August 3, 2017

Lady Justice

Rule of Law is the principle that all humans, including those in power, are subject to the law.  No one is above the law.  The law is impartial or applies equally to everyone.  Rule of law is not based on fallible, changing rulers but on a constant set of laws or a constitution.  This principle differs from “Ruler’s Law” in which a ruler or governing body may arbitrarily govern over subjects without limit or accountability.  While Ruler’s Law dominated most civilizations around the world for thousands of years prior to the American experiment, the American Founders implemented a new, just system entirely under Rule of Law.

Rule of Law is based on equality of all men before God and on equity—the fair, just, and impartial application of the law.  Equality and equity are derived from

Rule of Law was practiced by the early Americans and later adopted by the American founders with the U. S. Constitution.  The principle had been recognized, though not wholly practiced, in Britain’s Magna Carta of 1215 and affirmed by British thinkers Sir Edward Coke, Samuel Rutherford, and John Locke in the 1600s.  In his Democracy in America (1832), French nobleman Alexis de Tocqueville observed the equity of the U. S. Constitution:  “Christianity, which has declared that all men are equal in the sight of God, will not refuse to acknowledge that all citizens are equal in the eye of the law.”

From AHEF and Angela E. Kamrath.

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Source for more information:  Kamrath, Angela E.  The Miracle of America:  The Influence of the Bible on the Founding History and Principles of the United States of America for a People of Every Belief.  Second Edition.  Houston, TX:  American Heritage Education Foundation, 2014, 2015.

Related Articles/Videos:
1.  The Principle of Popular Sovereignty


Activity:  Miracle of America High School Teacher Course Guide, Unit 3, Part 2 of 3, Activity 1:  Drawing Essential Understandings / Answering Guiding Questions (Question 1), p. 113, 118.  MS-HS.

Drawing Essential Understandings/Answering Guiding Questions…

Purpose/Objective: Students learn and answer Essential Understandings/Guiding Questions in this part of the unit.

Suggested Reading: Chapter 3 of Miracle of America sourcebook/text.

Essential Understandings & Guiding Questions to consider:  

To download this whole unit, sign up as an AHEF member (no cost) to access the “resources” page on americanheritage.org.  To order the printed binder format of the course guide with all the units, go to the AHEF bookstore.

Copyright © American Heritage Education Foundation.  All rights reserved.

Published by: The Founding

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