Law in a Polite and Commercial Society: Adam Smith's "Lectures on Jurisprudence" and William Blackstone's Commentaries

Reading List  



Session I: The Definition of Law.

·      Smith, Adam. Lectures on Jurisprudence. Edited by R. L. Meek, D. D. Raphael, and P. G. Stein. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, Inc., 1982. Selections from "Report of 1762-3" (pages 5–7) and "Report dated 1766" (pages 398–404).  (Book)

·      Blackstone, William. Commentaries on the Laws of England: A Facsimile of the First Edition of 1765-1769, Volume I: Of the Rights of Persons (1765). Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1979.  Section II, "Of the Nature of Laws in General" (pages 38–62).  (Reader)


Session II: Historical Jurisprudence.

·      Smith, Adam. Lectures on Jurisprudence. Edited by R. L. Meek, D. D. Raphael, and P. G. Stein. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, Inc., 1982. Selections from "Report of 1762–3" (pages 23–35 and 49–61).  (Book)

·      Blackstone, William. Commentaries on the Laws of England: A Facsimile of the First Edition of 1765-1769, Volume IV: Of Public Wrongs (1769). Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1979.  Chapter 33, "Of the Rise, Progress, and Gradual Improvements, of the Laws of England" (pages 400–436).  (Reader)


Session III: Individual Rights.

·      Smith, Adam. Lectures on Jurisprudence. Edited by R. L. Meek, D. D. Raphael, and P. G. Stein. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, Inc., 1982. Selections from "Report of 1762–3" (pages 7–23 and 71–92).  (Book)

·      Blackstone, William. Commentaries on the Laws of England: A Facsimile of the First Edition of 1765-1769, Volume I: Of the Rights of Persons (1765). Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1979.  Book I, Chapter 1, "Of the Absolute Rights of Individuals" (pages 117–141).  (Reader)


Session IV: Crime and Punishment.

·      Smith, Adam. Lectures on Jurisprudence. Edited by R. L. Meek, D. D. Raphael, and P. G. Stein. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, Inc., 1982. Selection from "Report of 1762–3" (pages 103–119).  (Book)

·      Blackstone, William. Commentaries on the Laws of England: A Facsimile of the First Edition of 1765-1769, Volume III: Of Private Wrongs (1768). Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1979.  Selections from Chapter 23, "Of the Trial by Jury" (pages 349–358 and 374–385).  (Reader)

·      Blackstone, William. Commentaries on the Laws of England: A Facsimile of the First Edition of 1765-1769, Volume IV: Of Public Wrongs (1769). Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1979.  Selection from Chapter 27, "Of Trial, and Conviction" (pages 342–344).  (Reader)