The natural law, or law of nature; law, or legal principles, supposed to be discoverable by the light of nature or abstract reasoning, or to be taught by nature to all nations and men alike; or law supposed to govern men and peoples in a state of nature, i. e., in advance of organized governments or enacted laws. This conceit originated with the philosophical jurists of Rome, and was gradually extended until the phrase came to denote a supposed basis or substratum common to all systems of positive law, and hence to be found, in greater or less purity, in the laws of all nations. And, conversely, they held that if any rule or principle of law was observed in common by all peoples with whose systems they were acquainted, it must be a part of the jus natu- rale, or derived from it. Thus the phrases “jus naturalc” and “jus gentium” came to be used interchangeably. Jus naturale est quod apud homines eandem habet potentiam. Natural right is that which has the same force among all mankind. 7 Coke, 12.
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