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Lecture I

The matter of jurisprudence is positive law: law, simply and strictly so called, or law set by political superiors to political inferiors. A law, in the most general and comprehensive acceptation in which the term, in its literal meaning, is employed, may be said to be a rule laid down for the guidance of an intelligent being by an intelligent being having power over him. Of the laws or rules set by men to men, some are established by political superiors, sovereign and subject: by persons exercising supreme and subordinate government, in independent nations, or independent political societies. Besides the various sorts of rules which are included in the literal acceptation of the term law, and those which are by a close and striking analogy, though improperly, termed laws, there are numerous applications of the term law, which rest upon a slender analogy and are merely metaphorical or figurative.