Foundations of Law is designed to help law and pre-law students make sense of law in a changeful age. It is founded upon the conviction of the English jurist William Blackstone that students who intend to study law need both technical instruction in law and liberal education in the history and jurisprudential concepts of law. The book considers the enduring nature of law and its relationship to equity and justice with the assistance of the authors of what we today call the Great Books. It also emphasizes enduring aspects of legal practice: the role of logic; the meaning and importance of conscience and of due process; different approaches to textual interpretation; and the relation of law to other normative concepts (such as morality and religion) and to science (such as economics).The book surveys classic writings concerning law and justice?for example, the works of Sophocles, Plato, Aristotle, and Aquinas. It contains writings that are foundational to Anglo-American legal norms and institutions?Blackstone, Bentham, Locke, the Federalists, Lincoln, Holmes, and others. It includes helpful analytical insights from influential jurisprudence scholars?Austin, Hart, Hohfeld, Dworkin, and Finnis, among others. Most uniquely, it matches each of those writings with constitutions, declarations, statutes, judicial decisions, and other legal and political texts (even a letter from jail) that illustrate and reinforce the key lessons drawn from the great works. The book does not leave students adrift in abstractions. It provides a solid grounding for understanding and practicing law in a rapidly-changing world.
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