Celebrating the common law rights of man — a note on Blackstone’s work on natural law and natural rights


  • L. Nydam Duke University, United States of America
  • A. W. G. Raath University of the Free State, South Africa


From text: William Blackstone’s (1723-1780) Commentaries, a four-volume work, the first edition of which appeared in 1765, was produced in an epoch of natural law theory which marked the transition from “justification” to the “exposition” of natural law precepts and the shift from the ground of obligation of natural law to the formulation of detailed rules in natural law jurisprudence. Similar in style to E de Vattel’s Le Droit des Gens, ou Principes de la Loi Naturelle (1758), and T Rutherford’s Institutes of Natural Law (1748), Blackstone focused on the detailed rules of natural law rather than indulging in the philosophical underpinnings of natural law theory as such.


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