The law has evolved in chunks thus far this unit. We had the "safety and security" chunk, made up of Hammurabi, Mosaic Law and Manu. In each of these law codes, a priority was placed upon laws that would insure for safety and survival for as many members of the society as possible. In each of these cases, the survivial of the society was constantly threatened by environmental and social factors. Laws needed to be clear, concise and severe, so that no one jeopardized the entire society's existence.
As we move forward in the timeline, however, survival becomes less tenuous, and the law begins to take on a new character: emphasizing a "collective morality." As we see with Asoka, who wants to institute Buddhism throughout India and thus creates laws that emphasize Buddhist beliefs, the law can be used to both create and reflect the value systems of the collective group. "Collective morality" defines the value system that results when you take both the "state morality" expressed by the government coupled with the "individual morality" of all the citizens. What results is a set of values that all people agree upon as being central to that society. This set of values can change over time, but what's important is that the law is used to reflect those values, whatever they may be.
There is a direct relationship between the level to which the government is accountable to the people and how much the laws become an expression of the collective morality. As the government is more responsible to the needs of the people, the law becomes more of an expression of collective morality. You'll see this relationship fluctuate over time, but you should see that as the people become more of a voice in government, the laws become, in many ways, just written versions of the values and morals of the society.