In this essay, James R. Stoner outlines the role of natural law in the Declaration of Independence. In some respects, the Declaration conforms to the English tradition (exemplified by the Magna Carta and the 1689 Bill of Rights) by accusing the British authorities of violating the English constitutional and common law tradition. However, to justify American independence, the Declaration makes a further appeal to the natural rights of man, thus transcending the traditional English system in favor of a higher, natural law. In so doing, Thomas Jefferson – the principal drafter of the Declaration – emphasizes the claim to equality. Though informed by the political thought of Thomas Hobbes and John Locke, this claim to equal rights went beyond what was assumed by their social compact theory; indeed, the Declaration finds the source of the natural rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness in a Creator God. In our society today, natural law is often seen in opposition to freedom, but for those who wrote and signed the Declaration, freedom itself arose from the natural law.