East and West as Values in the Polish Tradition of Law and Politics

Values are present not only in law and politics, but also in respective branches of scholarship. Interestingly, already in antiquity even parts of world were considered as value-laden. Already by then, prevailed the bad opinion about the East, represented by Byzantium. As from the ruins of the Western Roman Empire the Europe of Charlemagne emerged, beyond its eastern border a “new” Europe appeared which inherited all the negative features of the East, first of all the economic, moral and legal backwardness. It is the West of Europe, where western civilization and western legal tradition come from. They were assimilated by Poland through its Christianization in the 10th century and through German colonization in the 12–13th century. Poland became in this way a kind of “East of the West”, but the German “bearer of culture” was considered in Eastern Europe directly an advocate of the Occident. Only in two isolated cases Poland overtook Western Europe: the dispute of Paulus Vladimiri against the Teutonic Knights at the council of Constance (1414–1418) and the promulgation of the May constitution in 1791. However, in most cases also within the borders of Europe the West revealed itself unable to learn from the rest

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