Western Liberal Law Tradition

1373 WordsSep 11, 20126 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…show more content…
But where did this concept originate? The concept of a trial can be traced to ancient Greece. On a shield owned by Achilles, a trial was depicted. In this depiction, a rudimentary trial of sorts was shown. Homer described this trial in the epic poem The Illiad. “In the assembly place where people gathered, there a dispute had arisen. Two men were disputing the recompense for a dead man…both wished to obtain trial at the hands of a judge”. (MacDowell) This is where interpretation comes into play. The modern concept of a judge won’t necessarily fit into this passage. The concept of what exactly is meant by a judge in this passage is open for interpretation. “The judge is the chairman of the proceedings: either the king or an elder who presides over the others.” (MacDowell). It seems that in this case, the judge may in fact be congruent with our modern understanding of what a judge is and what they do. We still utilize this concept today. In a modern trial, the judge will preside over the proceedings and maintain order within the court room. Therefore, we can directly connect the modern concept of a trial to the ancient Athenians. The United States directly followed suit with the idea of allowing the accused to the right of having a speedy and fair trial. . “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of
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