Essay on On The Law s Reflection of Morality

Submitted By mwarrington
Words: 688
Pages: 3

Orange On the Law's Reflection of Morality (great title)

What is the connection between morality and legality? Our laws are based on society's values and concerns; that is to say that our laws reflect the public's perception of what is right and just; it is morally wrong to steal, we all recognize, so thieves are arrested and penalized. In general then, the law is indeed a reflection of the public's sense of morality. (Good intro, but use only one semi colon per sentence, please)

Laws, of course, change over time and from place to place. So does that mean that morality too, is subject to change depending on where you are in the world and where you are in history? Slavery for example, was not abolished in the United States until 1865 (source?). Until then, one of the worst atrocities ever committed against humanity was perfectly legal and accepted by the ruling class of the most advanced and wealthy country in the world. Even in kinder, gentler Canada, where slavery never really took hold (source?). and which was in fact a refuge for escaping enslaved people via the Underground Railway, it was legal until 1834(source?). One must suppose that the upper classes of North America perceived slavery to be, if not absolutely moral, then at least morally justifiable. So then, we had an enormously immoral act which was accepted under laws which purported to reflect the country's morality. How can this be explained? Cite your sources for the data in this paragraph. E.g. (Morrison, 2010)

The laws of Apartheid South Africa allowed systematic oppression of anyone who was less than 85% white (source?). Apparently educated and civilized people of European descent were able to justify in their minds, and in their country's laws, a brutally-enforced system which denied education, health care, freedom of movement (curfews and housing restrictions were enforced), and freedom of association (blacks were not permitted to have personal relations with whites) to the majority of the population based on their race. Here again, a grossly immoral system, little better than slavery, was enforced on a not-always-willing public; even some of the privileged whites opposed the system and were campaigning against it. If the law reflects morality, how is it then that some laws have supported immoral institutions? (Avoid brackets in a formal paper)

All emotionally-balanced people have a conscience which tells us what is right and just. All over the world and all throughout history, people have agreed that murder, theft, cheating, unfairness, and dishonesty are morally wrong. We know instinctively that slavery, Apartheid, the Holocaust, the Chinese head tax, and the treatment of women in Afghanistan and northern