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Hammurabi's Impact on Today's Laws

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Hammurabi's Impact on Today's Laws

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  • June 11, 2002
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Hammurabi's code had a great impact on the laws and morals of our own Canadian Legal System. Hammurabi's code consisted of 282 provisions, systematically arranged under a variety of subjects. He sorted his laws into groups such as family, labor, personal property, real estate, trade, and business. This was the first time in history that any laws had been categorized into various sections. Our own government, duplicating this method, currently creates specific laws, which are placed into their appropriate family of similar laws. (Offenses against the person, Offences against rights of property, Offences relating to Currency, Sexual Offenses, etc) This format of organization originated in Hammurabi's code.

Hammurabi's laws are evident in our present day society because his method of thought and morals set the precedent for our own. Hammurabi based his code on principles like, the strong should not injure the weak, and that punishment should fit the crime. As for punishment, "legal actions were initiated under the code by written pleadings; testimony was taken under oath. The code was severe in it's penalties, prescribing "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth." This code of laws was able to be maintained by invoking the authority of the gods and the state. Although the punishments were different than those of today, the authority of the state (government) is similar. Currently, punishments are issued through the government's law enforcement system, comparable to the way punishment was determined and enforced in ancient Babylon. In the code, crimes punishable by death required a trial in front of a bench of judges. Included in these crimes were: bigamy, incest, kidnapping, adultery and theft. There are also laws similar to today. For example, a husband who wished to divorce his wife, was required to pay alimony and child support. By creating the world's first set of organized laws, Hammurabi constituted a model set of moral codes for future civilizations to...