Your SlideShare is downloading. ×
History of law
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in...5

Thanks for flagging this SlideShare!

Oops! An error has occurred.

Saving this for later? Get the SlideShare app to save on your phone or tablet. Read anywhere, anytime – even offline.
Text the download link to your phone
Standard text messaging rates apply

History of law


Published on

History of Law

History of Law

Published in: Education

  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total Views
On Slideshare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

Report content
Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

No notes for slide


  • 1. Some important stops along the road to today’s American legal system...
  • 2. 2350 B.C.E. Urukagina’s Code • This code consolidated existing laws laid down by Mesopotamian kings. – It indicated that the king was appointed by the gods and that ordinary citizens were allowed to know why certain actions would be punished.
  • 3. 1700 B.C.E. Hammurabi’s Code • This early written code contained 282 clauses regulating a vast array of situations. • By modern standards, punishments were very harsh (an “eye for an eye,” “a tooth for a tooth”)
  • 4. 1300 B.C.E. Ten Commandments • According to the Bible, Moses received a list of ten laws directly from God. • Many of these are contained in modern laws: “Thou shalt not kill,” “Thou shalt not steal.”
  • 5. 621 B.C.E. Draco’s Law • Draco was a Greek citizen chosen to write a code of law for Athens. • These were the first written laws of Greece. They introduced the idea of the state (rather than private parties) providing punishments for criminal acts. • The punishments were very harsh (often death), hence the modern word draconian (unduly harsh).
  • 6. 530 B.C.E. Book of Punishments • This legal book printed in China listed the ways a person could be punished after being convicted of a crime. – They included tattooing, cutting off of the nose, castration, feet amputation and death.
  • 7. 450 B.C.E. The Twelve Tablets • These twelve written laws gave Romans the foundation of all modern laws. • An injured person could seek compensation from those who caused the harm (a precursor to our tort system), even people from the lower classes who were harmed by the ruling class.
  • 8. 529 Justinian’s Code • This codification of Roman law inspired the modern concept of “justice.” • This code formed the basis of the civil law system, and many aspects of this code can be found in the laws of European countries into this century.
  • 9. 604 The Seventeen Article Constitution of Japan • This Constitution shaped morality and law in Japan with its emphasis on seeking ways to avoid dispute, whereas Western law seeks to resolve disputes. – “Chastise that which is evil and encourage that which is good.”
  • 10. 653 T’ang Code • This Chinese code clearly distinguished different levels of severity in meted punishments when different members of the social and political hierarchy committed the same crime.[ • Around this time fingerprinting was invented in China.
  • 11. 1100 First Law School • …founded in Bologna, Italy Irnerius (c. 1050 – after 1125) whose chief work was the first medieval system of Roman jurisprudence.
  • 12. 1215 Magna Carta • King John of England signed this document to concede many legal rights to barons and to the people. • The Magna Carta laid out certain fundamental rights that all – even the King – had to obey.
  • 13. 1689 English Bill of Rights • This set out strict limits on the legal powers of the Royal Family and limited arbitrary taxing powers.
  • 14. 1700s European Enlightenment • During this period many thinkers in France and England believed that the world could be made better through the application of reason. • These thinkers – including Voltaire, Rousseau, Locke, and Montesquieu – tended to oppose prevailing religion and aristocracy.
  • 15. Enlightenment (cont.) • Their belief in natural law, equality, self- determination, inherent freedoms, and separation of government powers had an enormous influence on the development of our Constitution.
  • 16. 1765 Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England • This four volume set made the law easy for lay people and assisted in the transfer of the English common law to the colonies.
  • 17. 1776 American Declaration of Independence • This document declared that all men were created equal and that they had inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. • Government derived its powers from the consent of the governed.
  • 18. 1787 U.S. Constitution • These seven articles signed in Philadelphia set out the duties of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches and created a structure of government with checks and balances.
  • 19. 1791 Bill of Rights • These first ten amendments to the Constitution established basic rights and limited the power of the federal government.
  • 20. 1803 Marbury v. Madison • This case is considered a landmark decision because in it, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the supremacy of the Constitution and established the principle of judicial review, which allows the Court to strike down laws enacted by the federal or state legislatures that the Court considers in violation of the Constitution.
  • 21. 1864 The Geneva Convention • This agreement provides for minimal human rights in a time of war, such as treating wounded people and military medical personnel humanely. • It was later supplemented by the Prisoner of War Convention and is still relevant today.
  • 22. 1865 Thirteenth Amendment • Abolished slavery
  • 23. 1868 Fourteenth Amendment • Prohibited states from denying due process or equal protection of the laws. • Its Citizenship Clause provides a broad definition of citizenship that overruled the decision in Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857), which held that blacks could not be citizens of the United States
  • 24. 1919 Eighteenth Amendment • Prohibited manufacture, sale, or transportation of alcoholic beverages in the United States • Repealed by the Twenty-first Amendment
  • 25. 1920 Nineteenth Amendment • Gave women the right to vote.
  • 26. 1964 Twenty-fourth Amendment • Strengthened voting rights and banned poll and other such taxes
  • 27. 1971 Twenty-sixth Amendment • The right to vote was extended to those 18 or older.