The Due Process of U.S Constitution
" Corwin said "the belief in a law superior to the will of humans" stretched back to antiquity, to Aristotle's concept of "natural justice" and Cicero's belief that human affairs should be governed by the principles of "right reason." Many of the patriots of the American Revolution, such as John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Otis, were steeped in classical learning and in the thinking of 17th and 18th century political thinkers such as James Harrington, who espoused an "empire of laws, and not of men," John Locke and Baron de Montesquieu. Williams said the Founding Fathers inherited a concept of due process which was "a [common law] principle of change and adaptations . . . long before it was written into the United States Constitution."

Due Process Clause in the First Hundred Years

The Due Process Clause in the Fifth Amendment and the later version thereof which appears in the Fourteenth Amendment, "nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property" have in different eras been interpreted narrowly or more broadly. Under the narrower interpretation, which prevailed during the first 100 years of the Republic, "the original significance of the clause was purely procedural--nobody should be punished without trial by jury" and other fair and impartial procedures.

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