Wednesday, July 10, 2013

William Blackstone influenced American law

It is the birthday of English barrister William Blackstone (1723), who is remembered for writing Commentaries on the Laws of England (1765-1769), a four-volume treatise on common law—the rights of people and things, and the difference between private wrongs and public wrongs. It was immensely popular in England, though not without detractors. Perhaps its greatest influence, however, was on the development of law in the American colonies and later in the fledgling United States. The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Federalist Papers and the early formation of the Supreme Court were all affected by Blackstone's writing. Indeed, the Supreme Court, even in modern times, continues to quote from Blackstone.

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