Before the founding of the United States, “Ruler’s Law,” not Rule of Law, was prevalent throughout the world. Ruler’s Law meant that all power and decision-making rested in one central, authoritarian person or group. In other words, the ruler was the law. Whatever the ruler wanted or decided arbitrarily became the law. For about 5,000 years, nations of the world were ruled by Ruler’s Law through monarchs, dictators, or oligarchs. The people had no rights to property or the fruits of their labor since rulers could simply take them away at will. Power was exercised over the people by compulsion or force.
Ruler’s Law left the common man with excessive taxation, perpetual poverty and hunger, and no chance to improve his life. Freedom of the people was unheard of, and domination/suppression of the people by their ruler(s) was a permanent way of life. Slavery of people of all races and creeds was widespread and ongoing.
How did Ruler’s Law and enslavement of the masses begin to change?
To find out more, see the From Oppression to Freedom essay (starting on page 9) in the introduction from America’s Heritage: An Adventure in Liberty: