Blackstone's Contribution to America's Legal System Volume 51, Program 24 4/1/2004
How did the British concept of common law inform our Founding Fathers? Michael Farris and Dr. Robert Stacey discuss these historical roots today on Home School Heartbeat.
Bob, as chairman of the government department at Patrick Henry College, you've developed a course called Freedom's Foundations in which you study the roots of the American legal and political system. How did William Blackstone contribute to our American experiment with liberty?
Dr. Robert Stacey:
Well, Blackstone was influential in many ways, but three critically important areas that I would point to would be: first, a legal theory that properly balances the rights of the individual with the rights of the community. His approach is neither libertarian (every man does what is right in his own eyes) nor is it authoritarian (the state's all that matters; individuals don't count).
Second, Blackstone teaches us to properly balance, again, our desire for liberty with our concern for security. You know, especially since the events of 9/11, we in America sometimes are willing to trade, it seems, some of our liberties for what we hope will be security.
And then finally, third, I would say that Blackstone shows us how faith and reason are in fact compatible. Modern secularists, of course, will tell us that faith is a relic of the past, something outdated and outmoded, and truth, if you want to call it that, only comes through reason or science or something like that. But Blackstone shows that truths of science actually serve to confirm the even greater truths of faith in Jesus Christ.
Bob, thanks so much. Tomorrow we're going to discuss the impact of these principles from Blackstone in our modern cultural debate. I'm Mike Farris.
Bob Stacey is the author of Sir William Blackstone and the Common Law. For ordering information, call us toll-free at 866-338-8614. That's 866-338-8614. Or visit us online at homeschoolheartbeat.com.
Nearly all Americans are familiar with the contributions of Adams, Jefferson, Hamilton, Madison, and many other patriots of the eighteenth century. Few Americans, however, are familiar with the one person who had the greatest influence on the thinking of our founding fathers: Sir William Blackstone.
An introduction for many to this legal scholar, law professor, attorney, member of Parliament, and judge who shaped the thindking of our founding fathers and, as a result, shaped the content of the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution. Softcover, 134 pages.
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