The James Wilson Institute on Natural Rights and the American Founding

15x – James Wilson Fellow Sponsors $5,000

Support the needs of young lawyers who participate in the James Wilson Fellowship in the summer. This week-long intensive seminar brings a select group of young lawyers together to learn from Prof. Arkes and a set of gifted teachers among our Affiliated JWI Scholars. We show how the pressing issues of our day would be addressed through the reasoning of Natural Law, much the way that Jefferson or Madison reasoned. For many of these young lawyers, this course introduces an entirely new view of the law, one they never encountered in four years of college or three years of law school.


Joel Nolette, 2018 Fellow: "Through the Fellowship, I have come to see that... instead of trying to strip the law of any hint of 'morals,' we should better understand the roots of morality - the natural law - and its proper place in the cration, application, and interpretation of positive law."


Kathleen Hunker, 2016 Fellow: "This fellowship has been a great success in that it has been able to put words to feelings. It has been able to give the tools that are needed in order to articulate them in well delivered manners that not only tie the Constitution into the American Founding, but also can stand the test of the ages."


See our most recent Fellowship from 2019 here.




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Government, in my humble opinion, should be formed to secure and to enlarge the exercise of natural rights of its members, and every government, which has not this in view, as its principal object, is not a government of the legitimate kind.
— James Wilson, Lectures on Law, 1790