The Gold Coast Before 1830
It would be nearly impossible to look at how the British influenced and changed the legal system of Ghana without going back in history, prior to what we know now as the “famous” treaties and bonds. For this is the place where change began, not at the signing of such pieces, like the Bond of 1844. Bonds and treaties that were signed in the mid 1800’s were the result of what happened in the past. First we must look at the definition and motive behind law. Every society finds it necessary to regulate the behavior of its members: to make them stop certain acts that, for reasons obvious to them, are crucial to the upholding of the society. At the same time they must control and make the people of the society perform acts that are considered useful for the public. In other words, rules of conduct must be established in order to ensure the stability of a certain society. These rules come into play in two key ways. Social rules may be created and obeyed through habit or usage, thus rules of tradition constitute one form of control. This would more commonly be seen in an African society. The other way is through jurisdiction and law, a form strongly emphasized within the European society. “The concern of a definition of law is simply to attempt to delineate a legal realm of social control….the task is to state those characteristics that distinguish laws as a specie of norms from other social norms.”1 To delineate a legal realm of social control through norms,
yet the norms that the European settlers knew were different from what the native Africans knew. Thus, upon landing on the Gold Coast, the beginning of constant struggle for power, jurisdiction, and rights began between European settlers and the aboriginal rulers. Narratives of travelers from the early 1600’sto the 1700’s show that natives at no time willingly submitted to any oppressive measured placed upon them by the Dutch, Danes, or the English. There were many instances...
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