[Ed. – Because of Newton’s three laws of motion and the laws of Nature, the latter having been referenced by Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence. Or something. It’s…science, which our Founders were very much into. Considering for a moment the (sort of) converse proposition: how do Newton’s laws of motion entitle a people to assume, among the powers of the earth, a separate and equal station? It seems a reasonable question, if the Deeper Meaning of the “laws of Nature and of Nature’s God” reference was a way of invoking Newton and science. At any rate, enjoy.]
The double appeal to “Nature” — including the explicit appeal to “the laws of Nature” in the first sentence — is particularly salient. After all, Sir Isaac Newton’s landmark 1687 text, “Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica,” famously lays out his three laws of motion, which many at the time called the “laws of nature.”
How familiar was Jefferson with the Principia? Very. Jefferson had studied it so closely he even wrote a letter identifying what he calculated to be a tiny mathematical error in it. For nearly two decades — including the entire time he was vice president and president — Jefferson was also president of the nation’s oldest scientific society, which was founded by the great American scientist Ben Franklin.
Jefferson and Franklin grounded the Declaration in the scientific laws of nature.