ABSTRACT. The U. S. political and legal system had been based on the Lockean natural rights doctrine. It made the country’s constitutional frame- work a distinctly individualist system, a revolutionary one at that. The government had been demoted while citizens promoted – their sovereignty came to be identified as unalienable. This was never unchallenged but in time the dominant intellectual current turned against it. So today the most prominent legal minds in America tend to be pragmatic; rights are taken to be grants of government, by such leading jurists as Harvard’s Cass Sunstein (even conservative jurists, such as Chicago’s Richard Posner, disavow the natural rights tradition). Here I dispute the wisdom of this development and urge the re-embrace of the jurisprudence of the Declaration of Independence. (pp. 85–99)

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Chapman University

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