Western Civilization History 10 Commandments

WesternCivilization History 10 Commandments

Thearticle, TheFount of Everything Just and Right? The Ten Commandments as a Sourceof American Law,has been authored by Steven Green. This article argues that the TenCommandments form the primary source of the American law. The authorposits that it is self-evident that most of the principles containedin the Ten Commandments form the fundamental basis to the Westernlegal tradition (Green 526). In supporting his claim the authorindicates that prohibitions on issues such as theft, murder, as wellas perjury can be found in almost every legal penal code. Hecontinues to indicate that few individuals, if any, would negate thatthe Ten Commandments and its parallels from other ancient cultures,and other directives comprised in the Pentateuch of the Hebrew andChristian Scriptures, tend to inform people’s aspects of right andwrong which has influenced the development of Western law of whichthe American legal system is a member.

Thearticle uses the support of individuals who have the idea that theTen Commandments form the basis for Western law. For example, John T.Noonan has contributed in the article and has posited that the TenCommandments are the most influential law code in history. John W.Whitehead has the argument that in early America, the TenCommandments acted as a pattern and a guide in forming courtdecisions as well as in framing individual pieces of legislation.

Theauthor also indicates that the issue of the Ten Commandments’ rolein the American law was brought to light, in the recent past,emanating from a controversy that involved the display of the TenCommandments in an Alabama court. In the year 1997, an AlabamaCircuit Court made a ruling that a display of the Ten Commandments inthe Etowah County courthouse had violated the Establishment Clause ofthe American constitution. According to the author, the claims thatthe Ten Commandments serves as the basis of American law are but asubset of a bigger argument that Christian principles have beenintegrated into American common law, which make judges obligated tosubmit if not defend these principles. The article also providescases supporting and challenging the reliance of the Ten Commandmentsin developing the American laws (Green 557). The article concludes byindicating that history does not support the claims of having adirect relationship amid the Ten Commandments and law. However, itcan be indicated that the Ten Commandments have influenced thenotions of wrong and right which is part of law (Green 558).

WhatI agree with concerning the article is that the Ten Commandmentshelped in influencing legal notions of right and wrong. In law, onehas to know what is regarded as right and what is regarded as wrongbecause without defining this, it would be exceedingly difficult tofollow law. It is possible for an individual to be unlawful becausehe does not know what is right and what is wrong concerning theactions defined by law. However, through the Ten Commandments, it waspossible first to introduce individuals to the elements of beingeither right or wrong, which eased the process of law. Therefore, incase it is taken in this manner, it would be true to holds thatalthough there is no direct relationship amid the Ten Commandmentsand the American law, there is some element of closeness that can beassociated with the Ten Commandments influencing the notions of rightand wrong that are utilized in law. Also, what I agree with from thearticle is that judicial reliance on the Ten Commandments as a sourceof law was nonexistent. This can be supported by the different cases,which lacked the application of the Ten Commandments. Furthermore, Ialso agree with the idea that most of the principles contained in theTen Commandments form the fundamental basis to the Western legaltradition. For instance, the article argues that issues such astheft, murder, and perjury are found in the Ten Commandments as wellas in the Western legal traditions.

However,what I disagree with from the article is that the Ten Commandmentsare the primary source of the American law. I disagree with thisbecause going through the Ten Commandments, there is no direct quotesor knowledge that has been used to develop the American law. Forinstance, going by the Bill of Rights and linking them with the TenCommandments, there is nowhere that the two intersect. Therefore, Idisagree with the article where it indicates that the TenCommandments are the primary source for the American law.

Inconclusion, the argument that the Ten Commandments helped ininfluencing legal notions of right and wrong is a critical element insettling the dispute that exist indicating that the Ten Commandmentsformed the basis for the American law. Therefore, the argument thatthe Ten Commandments were used in forming the American law should notemerge as an issue of collision.


Green,Steven. TheFount of Everything Just and Right? The Ten Commandments as a Sourceof American Law.Journal of Law and Religion, Vol. 14 (2), 2000, 525-558.