Some did the reverse. Among the latter, probably the best known at the time was written by a young professor at Harvard Law School, Duncan Kennedy. That he chose Blackstone as the representative of an existing system of repressive law underlines the importance still ascribed to a series of lectures delivered two centuries before. Certainly none of the criticism the work has drawn has ever affected its commercial success.
His work became particularly famous in the United States. Of course the Commentaries no longer dominate legal education and studies as once they did, espcially in North America during the century after their first publication. But Blackstone continues to be regularly cited in courts on both sides of the Atlantic, and elsewhere throughout the common law world.
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His Commentaries provide constitutional, cultural, intellectual and legal historians with a remarkably comprehensive account of the roles of law, lawyers and the courts in the imperial superpower that was England on the cusp of the industrial revolution. Back to Search Go to Page.
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Blackstone in Germany. Back matter Index. Retrieved from Bloomsbury Collections, www. Prest Ed. Blackstone and his Commentaries : Biography, Law, History pp.
Commentaries on the Laws of England | work by Blackstone | contdesalkingherz.ml
London: Hart Publishing. The Commentaries , which grew out of Blackstone's university lectures, is a very readable elementary text. Although its scheme of organization is borrowed from an earlier work by Sir Matthew Hale , Analysis of Law, it represents a radical departure from contemporary legal thought, which tended to treat the law as a catalog of unrelated writs and statutes. In Commentaries, Blackstone blended the intellectual traditions of the common law with those of 17th-and 18th-century English political philosophy.
Blackstone had only a vague grasp of systematic conceptions of law, and he was in fact frequently illogical, inconsistent, and uncritical. His purpose, however, was simply to provide literate men with entertaining and persuasive explanations of the existing legal order rather than to construct a critical and consistent jurisprudence.
Commentaries performed a service for society and should be regarded more as a handbook for the layman than as a legal treatise. In his treatment of law Blackstone argued a division between natural and positive municipal law by insisting on the existence of a natural law and maintaining that positive law which is not in accord with the principles of natural law is not law at all. But he held that there are few such principles and that most positive law concerns matters on which natural law is silent.
Rights and wrongs are objects of law; rights are of persons or things, while wrongs are either public or private. Evidently, he regarded the law of gravitation, the law of England, and the law of nature as examples of the same principle, that is, the imposition of rules by a superior power on its subjects. Blackstone's lack of precise terminology and use of loose phraseology result in contradictions. When he borrowed the scholastic definition of positive law, "a right or just ordinance commanding what is right and forbidding what is wrong," he deliberately struck out "right or just. He also reasserted the traditional equation of natural law with common law.
Thus he did not directly face up to the problem of whether men only have those rights which the law gives them or whether law is simply the acknowledgment by the state of the natural rights inherent in each individual. According to Blackstone, Englishmen enjoyed only those rights which the common law proclaimed, but in fact Englishmen had created the common law to proclaim their rights.
Blackstone was active in the prison-reform movement, worked against the tendency to extend the list of capital offenses, and was critical of the poor laws. In some technical areas, such as contract laws, his thinking was in advance of that of most of his contemporaries. He conceived his task as being educational reform rather than the building of a philosophic system. In the 18th century the Inns of Court had practically ceased to play their traditional role in legal education, and apprenticeship had largely replaced academic training.
Blackstone gave the first regular university lectures on English law and sought not only to provide formal instruction for prospective lawyers but to present the basic elements of common law as an integral part of the academic education of English gentlemen. In the United States , Blackstone's example contributed significantly to the development of law schools, and during the Revolutionary and postrevolutionary periods the Commentaries was the most widely read law text in America. After United States lawyers no longer tried to copy Blackstone, for living law was being shaped by the local institutions.
By the middle of the 20th century few Americans had read Blackstone, even as a classic, but he remains a symbol for American lawyers. There are two biographies of Blackstone: David A. Warden, The Life of Blackstone The major critical treatments are A.
See also Theodore F. Cite this article Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography. September 25, Retrieved September 25, from Encyclopedia.
Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list. Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia. The groundwork for U. Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England provided a systematic analysis of English common law. Published between and , the treatise was an exhaustive compilation of Blackstone's Oxford University lectures on law.
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