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.

Bibliography

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).

References in periodicals archive ?
With consequences for today's natural-law proponents and critics alike, Professor Forsyth deftly explores the thought of the Puritans, Revolutionary Americans, and seminal legal figures including William Blackstone, Joseph Story, Christopher Columbus Langdell, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and the legal realists.
This argument was developed by the jurist William Blackstone in the 18th century, whose books were immensely influential in England, America and elsewhere.
In the 1870s, Christopher Langdell, dean of Harvard Law School, began to apply Darwinian thought to legal education, Graves explains, through the "case method" of teaching law rather than using the traditional method as established by William Blackstone. (Blackstone taught that a judge's opinion in an appellate case was not a source of law, but rather an evidence of law, which preceded the case.)
Blackstone's Ratio comes from William Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England.
Dallas, TX, August 22, 2018 --(PR.com)-- "It is better that ten guilty go free, than for one innocent person to suffer..." - Sir William Blackstone
Among its admirers were the French Encyclopedistes; Prussia's Frederick the Great; Russia's enlightened czarina, Catherine II; members of the Habsburg dynasty; the English jurist Sir William Blackstone; the utilitarian penal reformer Jeremy Bentham; and American revolutionaries John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison.
HeinOnline Legal Classics - includes more than 10,000 complete works from some of the greatest legal minds in history including Joseph Story, Jeremy Bentham, William Blackstone, William Holdsworth, Henry Maine, Federick William Maitland, Frederick Pollock, Benjamin N.
This doctrine is based on the writings of the jurist Henry de Bracton (1210-68) and William Blackstone (1773-68) an English Jurist.
Students of the English common law almost surely would have read the works of the 13th-century cleric and jurist Henry de Bracton and, later, William Blackstone's 18th-century Commentaries on the Laws of England.
William Blackstone, an English jurist in the 18th century, influenced our modern penal system.
Neither did William Blackstone nor John Locke, yet the framers freely acknowledged their influence on the Constitution and American law.
This Great Charter was the basis on which jurists such as Edward Coke and William Blackstone rejected the divine right of kings and developed their rights-oriented approach toward legal theory.