James Wilson: A Founder Whose North Star Can Guide Our Rescue of Good Government
The mind of this Pennsylvania Delegate to the Constitutional Convention was described as “one blaze of light.” It was said of James Wilson that “Government seems to have been his peculiar study; all the political institutions of the world he knows in detail, and can trace the causes and effects of every revolution from the earliest stages of the Grecian commonwealth down to the present time.” A philosophical giant among giants, he was one of the most prolific speakers at the Constitutional Convention. Despite his disappointments, he was able to say that our constitution presented “the best form of government which has ever been offered to the world.” Washington ultimately appointed him one of our nation’s first Justices of the Supreme Court.
His ability to help craft a constitution and to administer it in the courts did not arise out of a vacuum. While his knowledge of history and philosophy were amazing, these were secondary. Instead, he understood law to be something that does not proceed from government but from God Himself. Those laws best suited to guide men and nations must harmonize with the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God and preserve the Natural Rights of Man. James Wilson’s insights into these Laws of Nature and Natural Rights were not only well suited for designing our remarkable constitution, but are vital to rebuilding the crumbling foundations of our Republic.
Randall L. Wenger, Esq., Chief Counsel of the Pennsylvania Family Institute and the Independence Law Center.
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