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Roman Law vs. United States Law

A focus on the many similarities and differences of law in ancient Rome and law in the United States today.
by

Olivia Van Dyke

on 23 November 2012

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Transcript of Roman Law vs. United States Law

Burning alive
Burying alive
Forced gladiatorial training
Drowning in a sack
Crucifixion
Live/work in public works (mines)
Decapitation with a sword
Total confiscation of property
Fines
Killing all slaves
Wild animals
Branding/Mutilation
Suicide
Exile By Olivia Van Dyke
Latin II, Mr. Matusiak Roman Law
VS.
American Law "A multitude of the world's law structures are directly derived from the ancient Roman legal codes. These, whether economic, judicial, or political, owe their modern existence to Roman attempts, however imperfect, to create an empire based on law as much as force. The United States, the United Nations, and the European Union-- all implicitly reflect the influence of Roman universalism."
-Nigel Rodgers, author of Roman Empire Rome's Influence on the United States Law System 1.) Codified law

2.) Civil and Common law

3.) The use of punishment to deter crime

4.) Courts, trials, and participants like ours

5.) Process of how new laws are made

6.) Legal language Similarities in American Law from Rome 1.) Religion separate from law

2.) Emperor supreme legal authority; our President is not

3.) The role of judges and lawyers

4.) Very severe punishment and jail not punishment

5.) Punishment determined by social class

6.) Father supreme household authority Differences in American Law from Rome The Courts - Similarities Judge
Jury
Lawyers
Innocent until proven guilty
Jury proclaims guilt/innocence
Jury determines sentence Praetor only keeps order
Today-- judge interprets law/instructs jury
Accuser physically brings accused to court
Today-- accused is arrested and charges brought by DA
Lawyers only men
Not paid for their work
No evidence presented in court
Lawyers not trained in law, but rhetoric (art of speaking)
Most moving speech won case The Courts - Differences Common Law (Similarity) Understood by all humans
Declaration of Independence
Rome-- violating state of Rome
Law established by custom Pertains to private individuals
Seen in federal/state constitutions
Seen in enactments by Congress and State legislatures
Includes:
Persons, things, obligations, inheritance, penal codes, codes of procedure, commercial law
Rome included adultery, slavery, and paterfamilias as well Civil Law (Similarity) Punishment in Rome (Difference) Upperclassmen, including knights, officers, senators, given option of suicide or exile
If lesser crime, fined or confiscation of property
Underclassmen usually put to death by gladitorial school, crucifixion, etc.
In United States we have equality for all Punishment Determined by
Social Class (Difference) Father has supreme authority over wife and children in his household
Women seen as subservient
Children needed consent to marry/divorce
Father could exile/execute
Grandchildren authority as well
Today-- women are equal to men and can vote, own property, raise children
Father only needs to be head if family chooses this
No consent to marry/divorce
No legal authority over anyone in family Paterfamilias Roman's first written code of laws called Twelve Tables
Published 450-451 BC
Similar to colonists' demands for written rights when they declared themselves free from England
Plebians, like colonists, wanted laws published for all to see and know
Both societies laws changed
Adapted to cultural values Codified Law (Similarity) In Rome, single magistrates could propose legislation
Proposal debated
Opinions of senators weighed in
Proposal reffered to Centuriate Assembly
If passed, became law
Similar to the process we have of House of Representatives who debate proposal and send it to Senate to become a law Process of Making New Laws (Similarity) Religion and Authority Separation from Law
(Difference) Rome dealt with religion directly in law
"Sacred, religious, and sanctified things are owned by nobody. Things under divine law cannot belong to individuals."
Today-- no incorporation of religion in law
Emperor supreme authority in Rome
Try cases with unsatisfied citizens
Decree = law
President not above law today
Nominates Supreme Court judges
alibi = To tell where you were when a crime
occurred to prove that
you couldn’t have been the one who did it
Bona fide = Sincere, genuine
Habeas corpus = Bring a person before a court
In absentia = In (his/her) absence
In loco parentis = In the place of a parent
Ipso facto = By that very fact
Modus operandi = Method of operating
Quid pro quo = Something for something; and equal exchange
In absentia = In (his/her) absence
In loco parentis = In the place of a parent
Ipso facto = By that very fact
Status quo = How things are currently

Legal Language (Similarity) THE END
Full transcript