Faculty Advisor

Christopher Cocoltchos


In the 1780s, the framers of the U.S. Constitution imbued the United States system of government with crucial Natural Law-based safeguards. Both Federalist supporters of the Constitution and Antifederalists who opposed ratification championed such protections. Each faction expressed both misgivings over the concentration of power in unaccountable bodies and apprehension regarding majoritarian impulses. Both camps framed their arguments through a philosophy of Natural Law. The result of this Natural Law synthesis was the Ninth Amendment, which sought to address the reservations of both parties by establishing that the American people retained unenumerated rights. Though scholarship concerning the Ninth Amendment exists in the realm of political science and legal theory, this work expands the historical scholarship on the amendment by addressing its Natural Law context and assessing the amendment's legacy of recognizing and protecting unenumerated rights.

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