Natural Law and Natural Rights

The natural law and natural rights tradition emerged in the 17th and 18th centuries and argues that the world is governed by natural laws which are discoverable by human reason. A key aspect of this intellectual tradition is the notion that natural rights are not created by governments. Governments are instead created to secure these rights.

Liberty Fund is publishing an extensive collection of works about natural law in its Natural Law and Enlightenment Series including works by Hugo Grotius, Samuel von Pufendorf, and Francis Hutcheson.

See also the following schools of thought which supported the natural law and natural rights tradition:

And the 19th Century Utilitarians which did not.

For further reading on this topic see the works listed below: