Heathen influence on American Common Law – Thomas Jefferson

This is a quote many heathens use from Thomas Jefferson that can be found here:


(This quote is longer than ones I frequently see used.)

For we know that the common law is that system of law which was introduced by the Saxons on their settlement in England, and altered from time to time by proper legislative authority from that time to the date of Magna Charta, which terminates the period of the common law, or lex non scripta, and commences that of the statute law, or Lex Scripta. This settlement took place about the middle of the fifth century. But Christianity was not introduced till the seventh century; the conversion of the first christian king of the Heptarchy having taken place about the year 598, and that of the last about 686. Here, then, was a space of two hundred years, during which the common law was in existence, and Christianity no part of it. If it ever was adopted, therefore, into the common law, it must have been between the introduction of Christianity and the date of the Magna Charta. But of the laws of this period we have a tolerable collection by Lambard and Wilkins, probably not perfect, but neither very defective; and if any one chooses to build a doctrine on any law of that period, supposed to have been lost, it is incumbent on him to prove it to have existed, and what were its contents. These were so far alterations of the common law, and became themselves a part of it. But none of these adopt Christianity as a part of the common law. If, therefore, from the settlement of the Saxons to the introduction of Christianity among them, that system of religion could not be a part of the common law, because they were not yet Christians, and if, having their laws from that period to the close of the common law, we are all able to find among them no such act of adoption, we may safely affirm (though contradicted by all the judges and writers on earth) that Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law.

I have, in the past, reverse engineered American legal precedent based on the principles of the Dane Law in England.

I see this as both honoring our ancestors and avoiding any violation of the First Amendment, which I long ago swore to uphold.

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5 responses to “Heathen influence on American Common Law – Thomas Jefferson”

  1. EmberVoices says :

    Ohh, very interesting! And while I knew all the pieces, I hadn’t specifically put them together this way, thank you. 🙂 -E-

    • facingthefireswithin says :

      I have seen variations by various heathens as email signatures but kept forgetting to link them.

      • EmberVoices says :

        Oh, sure. As I said, I’ve had the pieces. I knew Jefferson and several others had emphasized repeatedly that the US was not founded on Christian Values. I knew that Common Law pre-dated the conversion. I knew that the Roman values in the south and the Germanic values in the north significantly influenced the ways Christianity developed and divided throughout Europe. I just didn’t put all the pieces together.


  2. aeddubh says :

    Interesting. Another quote: “In Massachusetts today…there are some (rules) which can only be understood by reference to the infancy of procedure among the German tribes.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., “The Common Law”, 1881.

    I wonder if there is any more modern scholarship on this?

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