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Referred to as the bible of American lawyers, Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England shaped the principles of law in both England and America when its first volume appeared in 1765. For the next century that law remained what Blackstone made of it. Daniel J. Boorstin examines why Commentaries became the knowledge that any lawyer needed to acquire. Set against the intellectual values of the 18th century and the notions of reason, nature, and the sublime, Commentaries is fitted into its social setting. Boorstin has provided an intellectual history of the time, illustrating the elegance, social values and internal contradictions of the Age of Reason.
In this classic work by one of America's most distinguished historians, Daniel Boorstin enters into Thomas Jefferson's world of ideas. By analysing writings of 'the Jeffersonian Circle,' Boorstin explores concepts of God, nature, equality, toleration, education and government in order to illuminate their underlying world view. The Lost World of Thomas Jefferson demonstrates why on the 250th anniversary of his birth, this American leader's message has remained relevant to our national crises and grand concerns. The volume is too subtle, too rich in ideas for anyone to do justice to it in brief summary, too heavily documented and too carefully wrought for anyone to dismiss its thesis...It is a major contribution not only to Jefferson studies but to American intellectual history...All who work in the history of ideas will find themselves in Mr. Boorstin's debt. --Richard Hofstadter, South Atlantic Monthly
How much of our political tradition can be absorbed and used by other peoples? Daniel Boorstin's answer to this question has been chosen by the Carnegie Corporation of New York for representation in American Panorama as one of the 350 books, old and new, most descriptive of life in the United States. He describes the uniqueness of American thought and explains, after a close look at the American past, why we have not produced and are not likely to produce grand political theories or successful propaganda. He also suggests what our attitudes must be toward ourselves and other countries if we are to preserve our institutions and help others to improve theirs. . . . a fresh and, on the whole, valid interpretation of American political life. -Reinhold Niebuhr, New Leader