A History of Law

  • Jan 1, 604

    The Seventeen Article Constitution of Japan

    The Seventeen Article Constitution of Japan was put in place by the prince of a still-developing Japan in the early 7th century. The Constitution was written for a patriarcle society, and emphasized the importance of Buddhism. The Constitution is noted for trying to prevent disputes as opposed to resolving them.
  • Jan 1, 653

    T'ang Code

    The Tang Code was one of the first systems of rules put in place in China, which had just become united under one king. The Code listed a number of crimes, and outlined their specific punishments. It had a very black-and-white form; a certain crime leads to the corresponding punishment.
  • Jan 1, 700

    Fingerprinting Invented

    Fingerprinting was invented by the Chinese in the year 700 AD. Fingerprinting is still very much in use today by law enforcement agencies all over the world- from local police to the CIA. The knowledge that every person has a completely unique characteristic to their body that can be left at a crime scene and recorded is still incredibly powerful.
  • Jan 1, 1100

    The First Law School

    The First Law School
    Irnerius was one of the first professors of law. He was hired by students to teach them the various codes of medieval Italy (including Justinian's Code). He soon hired other teachers to meet the needs of his students, and ended up starting the first school of law.
  • Jan 1, 1215

    Magna Carta

    Magna Carta
    The Magna Carta was a list of legal rights signed in England by King John. It allowed freedom of the Church, restricted taxes, set stricter rules regarding imprisonment, and allowed merchants to trade and travel as they please (in peaceful times). The Magna Carta is still hailed as a fantastic advance in legal history, and many of today's laws were derived from this document.
  • The English Bill of Rights

    The English Bill of Rights
    Passed in 1689, the English Bill of Rights is still in use today. It was added onto 22 years later with the Act of Settlement, and together, both documents are still followed today. It governed who would succeed the throne of the United Kingdom, as well as moderating the Crown's power in legal issues.
  • The American Declaration of Independence

    The American Declaration of Independence
    Following the Revolutionary War, a declaration was put forth by political leaders of the ex-British Colonies. The <a href='http://www.ushistory.org/declaration/document/' >Declaration was written primarily by Thomas Jefferson, and signed by a number of influential and now well-known leaders of the time, including first president George Washington. The Declaration bravely put forth the idea that "All men are created equal" and that all are entitled to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness".
  • United States Constitution

    United States Constitution
    The United States Contitution is an incredibly important document that is still used as the supreme legislature of America to this day. The first ten amendments are now known as the Bill of Rights. Drafted in 1787, thi document put forth a strong and fair system of laws, allowing freedom of speech and religion, along with a democratic system of government, which was, at the time, still a rare occurence.
  • The Thirteenth Amendment

    The Thirteenth Amendment to the American Constitution was passed following the Civil War. Abraham Lincoln was credited with being the leader that had the Amendment written and passed- abolishing slavery in the United States for good. This was a huge step toward equality and the humane treatment of people in the States.
  • Justinian's Code

    Justinian's Code
    Justinian's CodeJustinian's Code was a series of books called the Corpus Juris Civilis. The books contained the laws of Rome; recorded by the Emperor of Byzatine. Parts of the Code are still represented in the constitutions of many European countries.