Monday, September 3, 2007

Final paper: "The women rights in Hamurabi and the women rights in Magna Carta"

Pannasastra University of Cambodia

Final Paper for Human Right and World Politics.
Topic: The Women Rights in Hammurabi and Magna Carta

Prepared by : Muy Sopheak

Abstract :

I am choosing to compare the women rights in this two period of time because I think that in this countries have differnces women rights. According to our study we can know that Hamurabi was the king control by absolute power and in the Magna Carta is the lead to democracy. In this topic I want to make everyone know about how the king give rights to women in the Hamurabi. And I also want everyone to know that how do the women right developed from the time of Hamurabi to the time of Magna Carta. Before there was no UDHR and others declaration to protected human rights. So in this topic I want to know how did this two countries treated their own citizens.At last, I think that this comparism could help us know how do the women rights develope to the present time.


I. Introuduction

II. History

1. History of Hammurabi

2. History of Magna Carta

III. Women rights

IV Analysis



I. Introduction

Nowadays, women have been protected attentively by the government and NGOs. Now there is a law to eliminate the discrimination and violence on women and those who violated this law shall be punished. In order to show how the women rights were created, how the society value women and does the women been protected by law or not. I have chosen the law during the Hammurabi and Magna Carta.

II History
1. History of Hammurabi

The code of Hammurabi was created in 1780 BC. This code was the earlier sets of laws that lead to have the law in recent time. The code had divided clearly the whole population as falling into three classes, the Amelu, the Muskinu and the Ardu. The Amelu means the higher official, the Muskinu means freeman that have small land or farm and the Ardu means the slave.
In the code shows about the roles and punishment, if the roles are broken, the punishment could be as small as fine or as big as sentences to death. The law does not accept any excuse or explanation from anyone who done something wrong. The law was very easily to find and read because everyone can read it on the stone in the city of Babylonian. The law was carved on stone that cannot easily to change.
In that time the king was just called him self <> and this code was written down in order to please his gods. However we can see that the king has absolute power and he controls all the power like adopt law, holding court and punish people.

2. History of Magna Carta
Magna Carta is an English charter originally issued in 1225. The Magna Carta was the historical processes that lead to the rule of democracy today. The reasons why Magna Carta was created because of the disagreements between Pope Innocent III, King John and his English barons. The disagreement was about the rights to the king, the barons want the king to respect the law and that the will of king could be under the law. There were many events that lead to write the Magna Carta. After the Magna Carta has written down every things was under the law except the will of the English Barons. The law was very differences from Hammurabi time and the punishment also slightly.

III Women Rights

If we are talking about the women rights during the Hammurabi period we can see that the king does not give the value to the women but the country does empower to the men. If we read through the Article 131 and 132, we can see that the men and the women are very difference. In Article 131, if the men been accuse with other wife, but they’re not surprised. So the punishment for the man is fine, but for the woman, she must take an oath and then she can return to her husband’s house. In Article132, if the woman just <<>> with other man but they don’t have evidence to accuse that woman. So the woman shall jump into the river for her honesty with her husband. In this case the woman is not surprised with other man but the punishment is jump into the river. We can see in this two article that the man have very strong power and the woman do not have any rights even rights to defend her self. If we read Article 138, said that if the men want to separate from his wife who has not born him children. He just gives her dowry and purchase money that she brings from her father’s house back, so he can let her go. In this article the man can divorce with a woman for just a small reason. However, the law does not give right to women who want to divorce her husband. It means the woman have to live with her husband even she does not satisfy with her husband. All in all the women rights in Hammurabi time was not good. King has the absolute power and gives power only to the men. So we can imagine that a woman in Hammurabi time don’t have any rights, even right to defend her self.
In Magna Carta time the society give the value to the women and the women have ability to defend her self. The Law stated clearly about the rights of men and women. If we are reading through the Article 54 said that <>. In this article show us that the women have the rights to defend her self and no one can force her to appeal in the court. If we looking back to the Article 7 and 8. It said about the death of woman‘s husband. Then she just stays at her husband’s house for only 40 days so this woman can leave her husband’s house with her dowry and inheritance without any troubles. So long the woman can live without a husband until she wants to marry again. And no one can force her to marry with him or force her to marry with other man. That was the good point in Magna Carta; the law expects the woman rights. That no one can ruin in the woman life. This can show us that the woman rights in Magna.Carta were developed.

IV Analysis

I think the women who live during the Hammurabi have no rights and were suppress by men. The thinking of the leader at that time that the men were the head of family was very self fish. At that time the king hold all the power (absolute power) so when he adopt a law, he didn’t value women. When the women have make a mistake, the society didn’t give the opportunity for her to explain her reason even when she didn’t make any mistake but she shall be punish. We can see that women are week that need law to protected her, yet the law didn't protected her but suppress her.
For Magna Carta the society value women and promoted women. At that time women been protected by law and also have to own something. Moreover the law didn’t state about the punishment on women. So we can say that the women right in Magna Carta was developed.

V Conclusion

To conclude, we know that from the time of Hammurabi to the Magna Carta the women rights were developed. The Hammurabi was the first sets of law that lead to our world but the power were under only one person. And moving to Magna Carta was also the first law that led to democratic today. So we can see that the democracy country is better that the country that control by the absolute power.
At last, in my point of view I think that the women shall have the equal right with the men. In our modern world women are able to work for the government, participating in politic and she also can be a prime minister or president. As we always heard one sentence said that . This can tell us that we cannot live in this world without women.

HUMAN RIGHTS AND WORLD POLITICS (Compiled by Prof. Stan Starygin)


Anonymous said...

Dear Sopheak!

After i have read your final paper. Your analysis did not state clearly. You said that during the Hammurabi women have no rights and supress my men. Can you give more proof that women have no rights in which article of the Hammurabi? And you also said that man is the leader of family and selfish. Which article of the Hammurabi mentioned about this?
Another one you said that the law did not protect her . Can you give more proof to that poiont?

On Magna Carta you said that the society valued women and protected them. Can you clarify which article of Magna Carta mentioned about that?

Thanks .......

muysopheak said...

Thank for your Q,
I said that Magna Carta valued women and why I said like this. If you read through the article 54 you can see that the law protected the women. If someone wanted the women to be the witness in one case. The women have right not to appear in the court and she also cannot be thrathen. And in article 7 its said that the women will get the inheritnace without any trouble after a death of her husband. So after you see this two article you can know that the soceity valued women.
Hope I answer to your question.

Stan Starygin said...



This is an okay first draft, but definitely not a final paper. First, it falls far short of the length requirement. Second, it only stratches the surface of the declared topic. Third, the analysis wrote ends abruptely and cuts to a conclusion without having seen the argument through. There are no footnotes of any kind.

I do appreciate the effort, but this paper would have doubtless benefitted from additional research and more thorough analysis.