Blackstone’s Commentaries and our English Heritage

Wisdom from our English heritage. Blackstone’s Commentaries was the most influential legal commentary at the time of the framing of the Second Amendment.

-On the Rights of Persons

“IN these several articles consist the rights, or, as they are frequently termed, the liberties of Englishmen :…highly necessary to be perfectly known and considered by every man of rank or property… And we have seen that these rights consist, primarily, in the free enjoyment of personal security, of personal liberty, and of private property. So long as these remain inviolate, the subject is perfectly free ; for every species of compulsive tyranny and oppression must act in opposition to one or other of these rights… To preserve these from violation, it is necessary that the constitution of parliaments be supported in it’s full vigor ; and limits certainly known, be set to the royal prerogative. And, lastly, to vindicate these rights, when actually violated or attacked, the subjects of England are entitled, in the first place, to the regular administration and free course of justice in the courts of law ; next to the right of petitioning the king and parliament for redress of grievances ; and lastly to the right of having and using arms for self-preservation and defence. And all thefe rights and liberties it is our birthright to enjoy entire”

William Blackstone’s “Commentaries on the Laws of England” (1765)

Found at: http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/blackstone_bk1ch1.asp

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