Natural Law Vs. Positive Law
In every person’s life, there comes a point at which one has to begin to formulate his own ideas; even when these ideas question some preconceived notionsinstilled in us since childhood. The conclusions to which we arrive through our own reasoning or innate intuition many times are in disagreement with what is considered to be the “norm” or acceptable bysociety. This dichotomy encountered by the human being can many times find its way into our legal system, for the decisions imparted by the courts or the laws enacted by our legislative bodies at timesmay go against what is established.
One example that can depict this contrasting relationship is the abolition of slavery through the Emancipation Proclamation. The act may have gone against apractice that had been accepted and exercised for decades, but nonetheless it was adopted because it represented the correct path for the country to take. In the face of so much opposition, how didthis decision emanate? As in many situations the courts have encountered, the theory of natural law played an important role in the creation of the positive law that ultimately impacted the lives ofthe public.
The theory of natural law retains as its essence the idea that humans have an innate discernment of what is wrong or right. Even though today we may see the idea of a human owning afellow as appalling, this system was still admissible in this country until 1863 when it was abolished through the executive order issued by President Lincoln. Taking this under consideration, theEmancipation Proclamation represents a sample of natural law in application, for it has as the main principal the belief that a human being cannot be classified as “property” even when permissible bythe law.
Another point that allows the act to be defined as natural law is the assertion that all individuals are born with basic rights that need to be protected; rights that are undeniable and...
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