The purposes of law and its functions in society are questions that arise from all walks of life. The first question is – what is the function of law in a society? The second – how does the role of law play into the lives of individuals?
To answer these questions, we must first look at why we have laws. The founding fathers of the United States set forth in the United States a system of laws and rights to govern their society. These laws and rights guide every action of every individual, providing them with protection from assault, murder, rape, theft, and all violent acts. There are many different types of laws that govern different aspects of American life. One cannot study the functions and purposes of law without first knowing what all the laws are for and how they apply to everyday life.
The purposes of law are not only limited to protecting individual’s rights, but also to guarantee the equal rights of others. This guarantee of equality has been referred to as the ” Lockean ideal”. Another important facet of the purposes of law is to prevent encroachment upon personal rights. In fact, all American governments since the adoption of the Constitution have made laws that either prohibit discrimination or interfere with the equal rights of individuals. It is this idea of equality before the law that underpins the checks and balances provision in the US Constitution, ensuring that no government official can abuse his power.
There are different purposes for law in American society. Some laws are designed to protect individuals and other legal entities against discrimination based on race, gender, religion, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, etc. Under some jurisdictions, the law also aims to protect human rights and to ensure that people are protected from physical, mental, economic, and social harms. Social science research has shown that people in societies with higher levels of social trust and social welfare are generally happier and live longer than those in lower-simmering societies with less social welfare. Thus, the question of what is the purpose of law becomes relevant not only to understanding human rights and social welfare, but also to understanding why some societies succeed and others fail.
A major area of argument in answer to the question of what is the purpose of law involves the definition of law itself. According to some legal philosophers, the purpose of law is to prevent incursion into private life by external means, such as violence or intrusion by non-governmental organizations or other powerful entities. According to other philosophers, law is the form of legitimacy that ensures the equal distribution of social goods, such as liberty, security, property, and freedom, among individuals. In between these two extremes, however, is the range of interpretations of law that privilege some aspects of the law while relegating others to be wholly disregarded or treated with contempt.
One of the most important answers to the question of what is the purpose of law can be found in the Declaration of Independence, which states that “the laws of nature and of society are equal.” The Declaration also states that “the government of the United States of America assures to every citizen of the American nation the equal enjoyment of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Although some theorists would read these words to imply that there are no societal disadvantages except those that come through the state, some other legalists have explained that the idea of equality of law is a “truce between two concepts: the assumption that all men are entitled to the equal protection under the law; and the belief that government is best when it acts in the interests of its citizens.” According to these thinkers, one must understand that the purpose of law is to ensure that all citizens enjoy equal protection under the law, regardless of ability to render legitimate political service or wealth. If one cannot see how a diverse society could achieve this end, one might ask why the state exists, in the first place.