Legal Paper 250 - Dennis Lynch Legal Studies 250 Law has...

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Dennis Lynch Legal Studies 250 Law has been present in society for thousands of years, and it has been overwhelmingly abided by throughout history. Scholars have debated the reasons why the population follows laws put in place by a social elite, and through research, it was concluded that people obey the law primarily because criminal behavior violates their personal convictions, but I feel that social pressure, deterrence, and legal legitimacy play a larger role than many scholars contest. These concepts all intersect and give law its overwhelming authority. The concept that personal morals guide our compliance with law is the main point in Tom Tyler’s essay “Why do people obey the law?” Through research and analysis Tyler concludes that this is overwhelmingly the dominant factor in law compliance. The argument is that a person is brought up in a society are presented a set of morals by the people and things around him, many times conflicting with their innate instinctual desires. Over time these morals become part of his personality and will influence his decisions from the inside out, as opposed to outside rules and principles affecting him from the outside in. Even when outside laws and social codes are not present, those that he has learned and incorporated into his personality will dictate his behavior on a good moral basis. As well as having an “internalized obligations” guiding our compliance with law, we also are under tremendous social pressures to obey the law. Almost all institutions promote law abiding behavior, including schools, workplaces, and the media. On top of all this our families, especially our parents, encourage us to live inside the legal guidelines of our governments. Many of these establishments create legal institutions in themselves, such as parents being the law in a household and child being at the hands of such household law. This is also applicable in schools, where a principal or dean is the law and the students are the ruled society. In his essay Law and
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Authority , Peter Kropotkin illustrates how we are brought up in a society that hammers legal obedience into our personalities. Speaking of legal obedience he says “This is the moral atmosphere in which parents bring up their children, and school only serves to confirm the impression…. Obedience to the law is made a religion moral goodness and the law of the masters are fused into one and the same divinity” 1 . He continues to elaborate how our education is laced with respect for the law, so that underneath everything we learn, we learn it as being innately connected with legal obedience. Historically underplayed, the idea of legal legitimacy plays a finishing role in why law is
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Legal Paper 250 - Dennis Lynch Legal Studies 250 Law has...

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