The Code of Hammurabi is a collection of laws that help maintain equal interactions with the community and set punishments and fines which help meet the requirements for justice. The laws are put in place to help keep control. The Code of Hammurabi is better explained as an “eye for an eye” which means that if a person commits a crime a harsh equal punishment will be bestowed upon them. The laws are based on the different types of classes which involve the propertied class, freedman and slaves. The laws were also different depending on you gender considering men were superior and woman were inferior during that time. The Code of Hammurabi includes many punishments which can include removing of one’s tongue, eyes, ears and hands. Todays laws in Modern day America can be harsh depending on the type of crime you committed. Many of our laws are much more civilized and humaine.
During 18th century BC men were superior to women. They lived in a class based society. Since the women were not equal to men their punishments were much more different. For example one of the laws state that “ If the finger is pointed at a man’s wife about another man, but she is not caught sleeping with other man, she shall jump into the river for the sake of her husband.” (L.W. King/Brians 1915). The people of that time greatly valued equal punishments for the individuals The people of Mesopotamia were into having punishments assigned only if people were socially equal. The majority of laws in Hammurabi’s code that applied to both men and woman mirrored a double standard. For instance it states “ If a man’s wife, who lives in his house, wishes to leave it, plunges into debt, tries to ruin her house, neglects her husband, and is judicially convicted: if her husband offer her release, she may go on her way, and he gives her nothing as a gift of release. If her husband does not wish to release her, and if he take another wife, she shall remain as servant in her husband’s house.” (L.W. King/Brians 1915). Marriage was very sacred and it was a woman’s job to be a loyal and faithful wife and mother. If she fails a harsh punishment including death will be ruled at her husband’s demand.
Our laws, values, and society in modern day America are much more different than Mesopotamia in the 18th century. As time progressed woman gained more rights and are now becoming equal with men and our punishments for criminals is nowhere near as harsh as the once were. Today in contemporary America Woman are identified as much more than just a daughter or a wife as they once were in Mesopotamia, they are seen as their own individual. Hammurabi’s Code required whoever is accused to come to the court themselves. As for today’s laws it is required in modern day America for the accused to show up to court. They must go through a long trial and there also must be a substantial amount of evidence. Our Amendments are still in affect to this day and are to be followed by every citizen in the United States of America. The Code of Hammurabi was only effective during Mesopotamian times. Even though the Code of Hammurabi has more rules than our laws today, our rules are much more effective and valid then what the laws from Ancient Mesopotamia.
Both Hammurabi’s Code and Today’s laws both offer protection of property and offer different punishments to people depending on the severity of their crime.The two set of laws cover many similar topics including family matters, assault, marriage issues and so on. Just like America’s rule of law the code of Hammurabi everyone must follow the law and no one can be an exception. Even though Mesopotamian laws and punishments seemed so absurd, they have established a system for authority that has been carried on to fit today’s standards in America. This helps keep control and peace within our country.
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