The Law and Social Change Essay

The Law and Social Change Essay

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The legal system we abide by has generally served its purpose by providing order and justice in most situations that need legal obedience. However, on the premises of producing social change, the system has not proven to bring changes in society. Perhaps justification for this is explained by Clarence Darrow who argues that the law applies to and favors specific types of social classes. Robert Cover addresses how punishments from judges may counteract their purpose. Karla Fischer and her peers, along with Jackie Campbell’s “Walking the Beat Alone,” show how law has objectives to serve society, but do not supply social change and in fact hinder its progress. The film Eyes on the Prize portrayed the African American efforts in disobeying the law in order to make a statement. Lastly, Tom Tyler’s writing, Why People Obey the Law, he discusses laws that people do not obey purely because it is a law. The legal system’s role is thought to bring social change, however, the system is structured to favor certain groups of people and in many cases, statutes and legal decisions have counteracted their intentions and failed to create change in society.
In Clarence Darrow’s Address to the Prisoners in the Cook County Jail, he discusses the reasons for people being and jail and crime. Darrow believes that people are in jail because they are poor (Darrow 227). He thinks that the legal system favors those that possess wealth (Darrow 229). If there were less people whom are poor, there would be less crime. If it were easier for people to obtain wealth, there would be less crime. The legal system is structured so that those without money are unable to obey the law. He does not believe our system provides justice, but more or less just provides pro...

... middle of paper ..., 2006. Print.

Cover, Robert. "The Violence of Legal Acts." Before the Law. 8th. Boston, MA: Houghton
Mifflin, 2006. Print.

Darrow, Clarence. "Address to the Prisoners in the Cook County Jail." Before the Law. 8th.
Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin, 2006. Print.

Fischer, Karla, Neil Vidmar, and Rene Ellis. "The Culture of Battering and the Role of
Mediation in Domestic Violence Cases." Before the Law. 8th. Boston, MA: Houghton
Mifflin, 2006. Print

McCann, Michael.” Law and social movements.” In The Blackwell companion to law and society, ed. Austin Sarat, Malden, MA: Blackwell Pub. 2004.

Tyler, Tom. “Why People Obey the Law.” In Law & Society: Readings on the Social Study of Law, 474-496. New York: W.W. Norton & Co.


Eyes on the Prize. Henry Hampton. PBS. 1990

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