Historical aspects and prospects of legal development of society

  • Tetiana Obikhod Institute for Nuclear Research NAS of Ukraine
Keywords: law, legal culture, human rights, legal nihilism, legal values


The current stage of development of our society is characterized by low civic activism, disrespect for the laws and, as a result, low legal culture and legal illiteracy. Therefore, the formation of a legal culture, the study of the origins of its occurrence and its implementation in society is one of the most important tasks of our time.

Legal development and regulation of the public life of mankind took place in several stages. We will only touch on some of them:

  • The laws of Hammurabi or the Codex of Hammurabi (1750s BC);
  • Cyrus Cylinder (539 BC);
  • The Bible;
  • Magna Carta (1215);
  • DECLARATION OF THE RIGHTS of man and citizen (adopted by the deputies of the General States on August 24, 1789);
  • The Declaration of Independence, according to which the American colonies withdrew from the British Empire in 1776.

The Christian model of social relations is clearly reflected in literature. The books of Thomas More “Utopia”, John Locke “The Experience of Human Understanding” and Hobbes “Leviathan” are vivid artistic demonstrations of the desired social structure.

On the other hand, faith in the best of mankind is realized at the level of perfection of an individual person. Voltaire’s Candide, which says that everyone should “cultivate their own garden,” concentrates the author’s social optimism, his faith in the “eternal tree of life”. B. Spinoza in his major philosophical work Ethics proclaimed the famous "formula of freedom": freedom is a conscious necessity.

Summarizing the above, several stages of the legal development of human society can be noted: 1) the union between God and man; 2) legal laws appear as connecting links between the will of God and human will (M. Luther); 3) the autonomy of legal relations, their independence from the spiritual authorities (the era of the Reformation); 4) the fundamental gap between the religious normative system and secular social principles, the attitude to religious faith as an outdated form of social life (Russo, Voltaire, Didro, Holbach, Helvetius, etc.); 5) the union of ideas of personal responsibility and moral autonomy, the conformity of Christian values ​​to spiritual and moral standards.

The legal consciousness of a person in modern society is heterogeneous, contradictory, and deformed. Legal nihilism and legal arbitrariness flourish in people. The reason for this is the low economic development of society and, as a result, low legal and moral culture. The pronounced primacy of materialism with complete indifference to man as a person is the main problem of our time. To enhance the legal culture necessary:

1. The Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Education and Science, Youth and Sports should implement measures for the rehabilitation of young; 2. The Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine shall conduct general legal training of the population of Ukraine; 3. Encourage broadcasters and print media to introduce more educational and educational programs; 4. Involve church-goers with television and radio broadcasts with interesting stories from both historical and religious sources and topics of current problems.


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How to Cite
Obikhod, T. (2019). Historical aspects and prospects of legal development of society. Law Review of Kyiv University of Law, (2), 30-33. https://doi.org/10.36695/2219-5521.2.2019.04
State and law theory and history. Philosophy of law