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Society of Man: Natural and Positive Law

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Society of Man: Natural and Positive Law

Scott Thomason

University of Phoenix

Society of Man: Natural and Positive Law

As people live together in organized groups, a sense of order is needed to allow the group to continue and grow. The ability for the society to establish order, a need for a solid foundation is required. The development for the formation of laws was the necessary material for such a foundation. Societies looked upon their surroundings and to nature (natural law) to formulate an early beginning, as societies evolved so did crime and laws (positive law). The uses of natural and legal laws make up a solid foundation of order in an organized society. Each style brings a unique similarity and contrasting interpretation on the understanding of organized law.

Natural law is a recognition of bad behaviors seemly wrong within themselves. What does that mean? A definition is needed. "Natural law is a concept of a body of moral principles that is common to all humankind and, as generally posited, is recognizable by human reason alone"(Dolhenty, 1998-1999, p.2). Simply, the unwritten law, law of reason which anyone and everyone in a society are affected by equally. A law which is not made by fallible humans, which is based on reality, and a rationally guide for righteousness and personal integrity. This theory of natural law (natural rights) was the cornerstone for the revolutions of both the American and French people of the late 18th century. As societies grow and become more civilized, a sense of order becomes more important among its population. The populous needing order; appoints its own members to government position to develop laws (positive laws) for the society as a whole. This is a shift toward a sense of stricter laws made by fallible humans compared to the laws of nature. Positive law brings a sense of civilized demeanor, by writing and publishing the laws for the society uphold.

As humans continue to grow and live in organized societies, order and responsibilities' demanded from its members. The theories of natural and positive law provide similar view points, as well as, conflicting points in the search for an orderly society. It is seen by the similarities, natural law and an impact on the theory of positive law. Each law values the common ideologies regarding acceptable and unacceptable behavior. The laws encourage a fundamental right to achieve life, liberty, property and happiness of its members. The laws intend to promote acceptable and virtuous behavior and at the same time punish the same members for bad and unscrupulous behavior. Equally, natural and positive laws share the idea of its members following basic, common and moral principles. Such goals allow these laws to provide a degree of protection, benefits to guide their members.

It can be determined the relationship between the natural and positive laws are linked to each other. Each law share similar view points and can be stated "natural law informs positive law"(Robinson, 2005, ch.3 p.55). As there are similarities between the two laws, there are number of difference. When humans grow into organized and civilized societies, the concept of life, liberty and happiness can go only so far. The makeup of society are not same, thus a melting pot of differences and cultures. One member may see a behavior or act as bad, unscrupulous or even immoral, while another member may see it differently and acceptable. Positive law must account and acknowledge every member residing in the society. To account for its diverse population, a form centralize government is established. This organization may select individuals from a cross-section of the populous to represent the society. Here the appointed individuals establish laws that represent the society as a whole, than the individual. The laws and rules are established in writing and published for the community. Laws are predictable in this theory and are formed from past behaviors committed by members of the society (i.e. statutory, case, administrative rulings etc.). These laws are enforced by the government the society has chosen to represent them and is carried out by an organize group (police force).

The growth of civilized society has put a new look on how crime is interpreted. The theory of Natural law, its progress through the ideas of Common law (a medieval English theory which blended the ideas of traditions and customs with the belief of due process to maintain order) and the development of Positive law have developed many programs to track the severity of certain crimes. The United States' Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in 1929 began the Uniform Crime Report (UCR) to start recording statistics on reported crime through the country. This program was in response to International Association of Chiefs



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