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Word Count: 1,486
The American Heritage Dictionary defines law as a rule of conduct or procedure established by custom agreement or authority Since even the most primitive forms of life have been known to live by some rule of conduct by definition law has existed before the dawn of the human race However no other species have adopted laws to fit their immediate needs more than humans As groups of humans began living in larger and larger groups competition for resources such as food water shelter and even mating partners grew increasingly intense Therefore the leaders of these basic forms of society found it necessary to set guidelines for sharing and protecting these resources As these societies grew in complexity so did the need for laws While in its nascent stage law primarily protected tangibles such as life limb and property the scope of laws has grown to encompass moral values as well However these values often differed from society to society With each passing y ear more and more laws are coming into effect Consequently more and more people are growing incognizant of the laws that govern them In effect this ignorance of the law nullifies its effectiveness as a deterrent of crime Therefore modern law has taken a more passive role as a medium for holding people accountable for their actions Voltaire once said that a multitude of laws in a country is like a great number of physicians a sign of weakness and malady Historically laws have been created in an attempt to correct perceived problems within a society An epidemic of adultery must have occurred before laws forbidding such activity came into existence Several affluent members of society must have been robbed before anti-theft laws were passed Undoubtedly a number of politicians were shot and killed before gun-control laws were believed to be necessary For the most part laws are created out of fear of becoming victimized As illustrated in the preceding examples
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