Sir William Blackstone

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Blackstone, Sir William,

1723–80, English jurist. At first unsuccessful in legal practice, he turned to scholarship and teaching. He became (1758) the first Vinerian professor of law at Oxford, where he inaugurated courses in English law. British universities had previously confined themselves to the study of Roman law. Blackstone published his lectures as Commentaries on the Laws of England (4 vol., 1765–69), a work that reduced to order and lucidity the formless bulk of English law. It ranks with the achievements of Sir Edward Coke and Sir Matthew Hale, Blackstone's great predecessors. Blackstone's Commentaries, written in an urbane, dignified, and clear style, is regarded as the most thorough treatment of the whole of English law ever produced by one man. It demonstrated that English law as a system of justice was comparable to Roman law and the civil law of the Continent. Blackstone has been criticized, notably by Jeremy Bentham, for a complacent belief that, in the main, English law was beyond improvement and for his failure to analyze exactly the social and historical factors underlying legal systems. Blackstone's book exerted tremendous influence on the legal profession and on the teaching of law in England and in the United States. In his later life Blackstone resumed practice, served in Parliament, was solicitor general to the queen, and was a judge of the Court of Common Pleas.


See The Sovereignty of the Law, selections from Blackstone's Commentaries, ed. and with an introd. by G. Jones (1973); biography by O. A. Lockmiller (1938); J. Bentham, A Comment on the Commentaries (ed. by C. W. Everett, 1928); P. Lucas, Essays in the Margin of Blackstone's Commentaries (1962).

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References in periodicals archive ?
Alexis de Tocqueville observed that the jury should be understood as a "political institution" and "one form of the sovereignty of the people." (5) Sir William Blackstone explained that trial by jury "preserves in the hands of the people that share, which they ought to have in the administration of public justice, and prevents the encroachments of the more powerful and wealthy citizens." (6) That's the second line I want you to remember, the civil jury "prevents the encroachments of the more powerful and wealthy citizens."
"Sir William Blackstone And The New American Republic: A Study Of Intellectual Impact." 738, 51 New York University Law Review 731.
To suggest how the common law might still save the political soul of America, Stoner produces a short handbook of common-taw doctrines, in effect digesting and discussing the work of the great common lawyers, including Sir Edward Coke, Sir William Blackstone, and Lord Mansfield, on the English side, and the two great American theorists, Chancellor James Kent of New York and Joseph Story, a U.S.
In 1765 the legal scholar Sir William Blackstone wrote that, when sending kids to school, Dad "may also delegate part of his parental authority, during his life to the tutor or schoolmaster of the child; who is then in loco parentis, and has such a portion of the power of the parents committed to his charge."
He added: 'Sir William Blackstone famously said 'An Englishman's home is his castle', however humble it may be, and I believe he or she has the right to defend it.
influences on the creation of the Executive Branch of the United States government, particularly the contributions of John Locke, Montesquieu, and Sir William Blackstone. The paper discusses the political ideas of these European thinkers, and of the U.S.
The great commentator on the English common law, Sir William Blackstone, makes no reference to such an exception.
Kent's Commentaries on the point in question was in fact only restating, rather broadly, the formulation in the more famous Commentaries of Sir William Blackstone. After laying down the hardly controversial rule that "acts of parliament that are impossible to be performed are of no validity," Blackstone conceded that he knew it was "generally laid down more largely, that acts of parliament contrary to reason are void."(8) The source of this view was, of course, Coke, but Blackstone, with rather more candor than Kent, confessed the error in Coke's dictum: "if the parliament will positively enact a thing to be done which is unreasonable, I know of no power that can control it,"(9) giving Coke the lie direct.
Nolan, Sir William Blackstone and the New American Republic: A Study of Intellectual Impact, 51 N.Y.U.
In going on to say that the sea by its nature cannot be owned, he is following two great jurists, Hugo de Grotius and Sir William Blackstone. He is also close to the heart of the difference between the Croker Islands' traditional ownership of the sea `to the horizon and that of all the respondents.
The framers of the Constitution rejected the prevailing models of John Locke and Sir William Blackstone, which placed virtually unfettered control over foreign affairs and the war power in the hands of the executive.