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Blackstone, Sir Wm.

SIR WILLIAM BLACKSTONE [1723–1780], a Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, was a bencher of the Middle Temple, Vinerian Professor of Law at Oxford, and a member of Parliament.  In 1763 he became solicitor general to the queen and was knighted in 1770.

His Commentaries on the Laws of England [1765–1769] is the most influential publication in the history of Anglo-American law.  In its many editions it remained a standard legal textbook into the late nineteenth century and was the primary, or only, book studied by hundreds of self-taught American lawyers, such as Abraham Lincoln.