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An Essay on Law.

Definition of Law. Part 4 to blupete's Essay

Is it not my design, at this place, to show what stands as law; but, rather my aim is to develop ideas on what law is.6 Law is a "rule of conduct imposed by authority. The body of rules, whether proceeding from formal enactment or from custom, which a particular state or community recognizes as binding on its members or subjects." Upon considering this definition (OED), the first question that arises, is: "On whose authority?" Prior to the 18th century it was on the authority of a divinely appointed king; during the 18th and 19th centuries in England it was on the authority of the landed aristocracy;7 in the 20th century it has been the people, in fact, I submit, the politicians who "manage" to get themselves elected8 ; now, as we enter the 21st century, it's hard to say whose in charge, maybe no one, and maybe, that's the way it ought to be.

For a further development of these ideas, it will be necessary for a person to understand that there are two basic kinds of law: one is scientific, or natural law; the other is a rule (or set of rules), apart from a natural law, which society prescribes for itself.


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