Page:The Harvard Classics Vol. 51; Lectures.djvu/357

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V. LAW AND LIBERTY

By Professor Roscoe Pound

FOR what end does the legal order exist? What do we seek to achieve through the political organization? What is the ultimate purpose in lawmaking, that is, in the selection and formulation of the standards for the public administration of justice which organized society establishes or recognizes? These are the first questions in legal and in political philosophy. The history of juristic thought and of political thought is chiefly a history of the way in which men have answered them.


THE AIM OF LAW (l) IN PRIMITIVE SOCIETIES

In primitive societies the answers are that the legal order exists simply to keep the peace, that men seek through the legal order to avert individual self-redress and prevent private war, and that the purpose of lawmaking is to establish rules by which controversies may be adjusted peaceably. Accordingly, whereas to-day we seek, as we say, to do justice, seeking to preserve the peace and to adjust controversies peaceably simply as means thereto and incidents thereof, primitive legal systems make peace the end. Where to-day we think of compensation for an injury, primitive law thinks only of composition for the desire to be avenged. Where to-day we seek to give to each what he ought to have or the nearest possible equivalent, primitive law seeks only to give him a substitute for vengeance in case he is wronged.


(2) IN GREECE AND ROME

Greek philosophy and Roman law soon passed beyond the crude conception of the end of the legal order in primitive society. Instead, they gave these answers: The legal order exists to preserve the social status quo; men seek through the legal order to keep each individual in his appointed groove, and thus to prevent the friction with his

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