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Why was William Blackstone important to American democracy?


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Sir William Blackstone (1723-1780) was an English jurist active in the mid-18th century, whose work on English Common Law provided guidance to the Framers of the US Constitution.

The treatise, Commentaries on the Laws of England, comprised a four-volume set covering such topics as:

  1. Rights of Persons (social stratification in a class society)
  2. Rights of Things (property law)
  3. Private Wrongs (torts)
  4. Public Wrongs (criminal law)

Commentaries on the Laws of England
, originally published by Clarendon Press, Oxford, in 1765-1769, is in the public domain and may be read on the Yale Law School site accessible via Related Links, below.