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The Mysterious Science of the Law

An Essay on Blackstone’s Commentaries

Referred to as the "bible of American lawyers," Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England shaped the principles of law in both England and America when its first volume appeared in 1765. For the next century that law remained what Blackstone made of it. Daniel J. Boorstin examines why Commentaries became the most essential knowledge that any lawyer needed to acquire. Set against the intellectual values of the eighteenth century-and the notions of Reason, Nature, and the Sublime—Commentaries is at last fitted into its social setting. Boorstin has provided a concise intellectual history of the time, illustrating all the elegance, social values, and internal contradictions of the Age of Reason.

264 pages | 9 halftones, 1 table | 5-1/2 x 8-1/2 | © 1941, 1996

History: American History

Law and Legal Studies: Legal History

Table of Contents

I: The Law: Science and Mystery
II: The Use of History
III: The Tendency of History
IV: The Use of Aesthetics
V: The Limits of Reason
VI: The Methods of Reason
VII: Humanity
VIII: Liberty
IX: Property
Conclusion: The Advantage of Being a Reasonable Creature
A Layman’s Glossary

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