Essay Western Liberal Law Tradition

1378 Words Sep 19th, 2012 6 Pages
Michael Harris
4/26/2012
Essay #3

The concept of law as we consider it in the western liberal tradition has far reaching roots and these roots are ancient in origin. This concept has shaped the path that law has taken in our modern society and it has directly influenced Anglo-American law. From the actual concept of law and how it is to be enforced to how citizens should obey and make more laws, this modern marvel of human ingenuity wouldn’t have been possible without the predecessors that came before. To discuss this further, it is crucial and vital that the origin of law be discussed. But firstly, what exactly is law as we have come to know in the west? There are multitudes of definitions for this simple word but some are
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The Ten Commandments were laws given to the Hebrews by God or Yaweh and were written down to be followed by citizens. This idea was quite revolutionary. With laws being written down for all to see and interpret for themselves, law become more concrete and clear. Law was now accessible to any citizen who could read. Up until this point, laws were divine in nature, being received from God and being revealed to only prophets. This made keeping citizens accountable quite difficult because only the select few were familiar with the laws. When the mandates were written down, most of the population could read them and therefore follow them better. The Hebrews weren’t the first to write laws down however. In ancient Babylon, King Hammurabi was the first to have written laws. The Hammurabi code was extensive and vast. It laid out all of the laws that were to be followed and the required punishments for anyone who disobeyed the laws. This concept hasn’t changed throughout history. All laws in the modern age are written down for all to see and follow. Written law was quite the innovation for our modern concept of law. In addition to this innovation, many other main concepts were pioneered in the ancient days. Law is not only about simply obeying laws, rather, provisions and regulations must set forth for when laws are not obeyed. This process of upholding laws must be examined as well. In our modern western tradition, when we break a law, we have

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