Fundamentals of Criminology
Adam J. McKee, Ph.D.
Scott D. Bransford, Ph.D.
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The Natural Law
The view that law has its origins in the nature of man as a moral and rational creature is the essence of natural law. That is, people have a way of knowing right from wrong and will usually choose to do right. A major difference in these theories is where that knowledge of right and wrong comes from. One version or the other of natural law has guided the philosophy of law (jurisprudence) since ancient times. Although positivist models of jurisprudence surfaced as early as the 16th century, they did not dominate until the end of the 19th. This long reign of the natural law means that it is the very foundation of the American legal system. The natural law theory does not allow for a clear distinction between morality and law. There can be no good law not based on sound moral grounds.
Modification History File Created: 08/04/2018 Last Modified: 08/04/2018
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