What do you consider to be the value of such institutions as those at West Point and Annapolis in their influence on the enforcement of law and discipline?
When we speak of “Government of the people, by the people, and for the people,” whom exactly do we mean by “people”? Does the word have the same meaning in each of these phrases?
Is it ever right to violate a law of the land? Some people contend that an individual ought to break a human law, provided that it is contrary to divine law. What is divine law? Who decides? Shall the individual decide, or is that the duty of the community? Or of the clergy? Was it right for the Abolitionists to violate the provisions of the fugitive slave law? Were this handful of men, able and conscientious as they were, as likely to be right regarding the welfare of society as the large majority of citizens whose representatives had enacted the fugitive slave law? If a person believes our tariff laws to be unjust, is it right for him to smuggle goods?
Under what circumstances, if any, is it one’s duty to disobey a law of the state? Would the fact that an individual believed it his duty to violate the law justify a judge in declining to punish him? Thoreau declined to pay a tax that he believed unjust and accepted his punishment, declaring that if he paid the penalty he might thus arouse public sentiment and secure the repeal of the law. Was John Brown justified in attempting illegally to free slaves by force of arms?
In Great Britain the House of Lords—one of the law-making bodies—is also the highest court of appeal, although the judicial business is mostly done by law lords specially appointed for that purpose. Ought the same men to make and interpret the law? Why?
Subjects for Further Study.
(1) Origin and Growth of Hebrew Law. Hastings, Dict. of Bible, III, 64-67; Ency. Bib., III, 2714-8; Kent, Israel’s Laws and Legal Precedents, IV, 8-15.
(2) Growth of Primitive Law. Maine, Ancient Law, 109-165; Wilson, The State, 1-29.
(3) Judicial Decisions as a Factor in the Development of Modern Law. Prin. of Politics, Chap. VI, Ransom, Majority Rule and the Judiciary.
THE FOUNDATIONS OF GOOD CITIZENSHIP.
THE TEN COMMANDMENTS.—Ex. 20:1-17.
Hist. Bible I, 194-198.
Prin. of Politics, Chap. II.
Lowell, Essay on “Democracy.”
Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
Thou shalt not make unto thee a graven image.
Thou shalt not take the name of Jehovah thy God in vain.
Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
Honor thy father and thy mother.
Thou shalt not kill.
Thou shalt not commit adultery.
Thou shalt not steal.
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house.—Ex. 20:3-17.