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Compare-Contrast Just and Legal

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Compare-Contrast Just and Legal

The two words just and legal have been used interchangeably in today's society and we have forgotten the extreme amount of separation between the two words' meanings. I am going to reflect on the different meanings of what is just verses what is legal and why it is dangerous to define them as one and the same. Many similarities can be made between the two words' meanings stemming from the fact that both pertain to the justice system and to the upholding of morality. The two separate in their definitions because legal does not show evenness on an issue and the legality of something takes no account of its fairness and equality. Whereas, if something is just, it is not because it is legal but because it is fair and two sided. These two sides of the comparison show how similar just and legal have become, yet they also maintain much of their own identities. In the next few pages, I will juxtapose these two words and try to show how their differences must not be overtaken by their similarities.

The roots of the words just and legal both have a Classical Latin origin but do not seem to cross in their definitions. Legal stems from the Latin root legalis which means legal, or pertaining to the law. The word just is derived from the Latin root word justus meaning upright or equitable. The Old French term just stems from the Latin root which is most likely the root for the English form. The words just and legal must have their similarities originating from the word Justus, or justice, and the legal system's view on justice. This just or upright view on the world is the driving factor for the legal system that is pertinent in every major society past and present. This intersection in the etymology of the two words causes much confusion in the similarities that they hold and the differences seem to be overlooked.

There are many similarities existing between the modern day meanings of just and legal. These similarities stem from the word justice and how justice interacts with the legal system. Many people make the association, properly or not, between something that is just because it is legal. The legality of something does tend to rest on it being somewhat just, or the people behind the legalization of that practice would cause uproar within the society who follows those laws. This correlation between just and legal through the justice system has led to the many questions pertaining to their similarities. Many aspects of the legal system are just and are meant to be just, so that one person is not effected more than another and one person is not hurt more that another. This equality in the laws that we live by has created a much more just society, whereas if a society were to have no laws and no legal system, many of its inhabitants would be abused or taken advantage of. This shows the lack of a just society where there is a lack of a legal system. These many similarities cannot overshadow the large differences that stem from their separate meanings.

The differences between the words just and legal are vast even though they are often overlooked. There are numerous things in today's society that are just and not legal or vice versa. One of the reasons for this difference is the legal system's inability to stay current with the feelings of the current society. Many things that were legal or illegal a century ago are now looked upon

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