Greek philosophy and Roman law soon passed beyond the crude conception of the end of the legal order in primitive society. Instead, they gave these answers: The legal order exists to preserve the social status quo; men seek through the legal order to keep each individual in his appointed groove, and thus to prevent the friction with his fellowmen which primitive law sought only to mitigate. This is brought out very clearly in Greek political philosophy. Thus, in Plato’s ideal state the state is to assign everyone to the class for which he is best fitted and the law is to keep him there, in order that a perfect harmony and unity may prevail. St. Paul’s well-known exhortation (Ephesians v, 22ff. and vi, 1-5) in which he calls on all the faithful to exert themselves to do their duty in the class in which they find themselves, proceeds upon the same conception. The Roman lawyers turned this idea of political philosophy into law. In the great institutional book of Roman law, the Institutes of Justinian, we are told that the precepts of law come to three; to live honorably, not to injure another, and to give to everyone his due. The idea here is that the state and the law exist to maintain harmoniously the existing social order. What the interests of another are, which one is not to injure, what makes anything another’s due, so that it is to be given him, are matters which are left wholly to the traditional social organization.

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