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Law,politics,and constitutional government as the distinguishing characteristics of western civilization - Essay Example

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This important question has been discussed for several centuries. Western Civilization has evolved from the colonial period to the present era of much more equality among nations.How have law, politics, and constitutional government contributed to this evolution?…
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Law,politics,and constitutional government as the distinguishing characteristics of western civilization
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Law,politics,and constitutional government as the distinguishing characteristics of western civilization

Download file to see previous pages... This important question has been discussed for several centuries. Western Civilization has evolved from the colonial period to the present era of much more equality among nations.How have law, politics, and constitutional government contributed to this evolution?First, we must define our terms. By “law” we mean the rule of law, a basic principle of Western Civilization. The concept refers to a system of well-established and clear principles and precepts which each nation follows. Laws regulate the conduct of the nation towards its own citizens as well as towards other nations and their citizens. This legal framework has also come to include international law, which governs the broader issues which arise among nations. (Gozzi, Gustavo, History of International Law and Western Civilization, April 20, 2007;.http://ssrn.com/abstract=996239)
It is sometimes said that Western Civilization relies on the rule of law rather than the rule of men. Of course, men and women must still administer the laws, but the point is that the laws are to be applied fairly, uniformly, and consistently. One’s station in life, wealth, family background and similar factors should not affect or influence the way one is treated under the law. This approach is a major departure from such past systems as feudalism, where serfs did not have legal rights. Similarly, the system of slavery deprived the slaves of any requirements of fair treatment from their masters; they were essentially property.
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The rule of law has been said to have begun with the Magna Carta in England,

which established limits on the absolute power of the monarchy. It required

many centuries for that approach to spread to other Western nations and for it

to be enforced impartially. Even today, we have not yet achieved the goal of

full equal treatment under the law. The evolution of internal and international law

is continuing, and remains a major contributing factor to Western Civilization.


Politics must also be defined for purposes of its relationship to Western

Civilization. We do not mean the political process itself so much as the concept

of each citizen having a voice in his or her government, helping to elect leaders

and to vote on important issues affecting each person and the nation itself. In

order for this political process to occur, the voice of the people must be heard,

both individually and collectively. That collective voice is usually organized into

a system of political parties, each of which represents a range of viewpoints. In

most cases, that range of viewpoints is considerably narrower within one party

than between parties. Thus, members of one party may range from liberal to

moderate in their views, while the otghe major party may range from moderate

to conservative. While the views of both of these parties may meet in the middle,

the range is clearly different between them.


For this sort of political process to contribute to Western Civilization, it must be

the ruling or guiding method of governance in the nation. Some nations have the

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appearance or pretense of a democratic political process but not the reality.

Instead, a dictator or similar official controls that nation, and the politics are

merely used to make the people think that they have a real voice. Nevertheless,

Western Civilization seems to be advancing towards more real political systems.


Constitutional government is the result of the interaction of the rule of laws,

democratic political systems, and the concept that individuals are of equa ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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