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Authority In The Modern State
by Harold Joseph Laski
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Laski, Harold J. Authority in the Modern State. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1919. x, 398 pp. Reprinted 2003 by The Lawbook Exchange, Ltd. LCCN 2002072858. ISBN 1-58477-275-1. Cloth. $85. Laski [1893-1950] intended this work to be a sequel to Studies in the Problem of Sovereignty (1917). He argues that sovereignty is best understood as a type of authority, and he supports his case with examples drawn principally from modern French history. After tracing the origins of his subject, Laski considers the significance of Bonald, Lamennais, Royer-Collard and the Syndicalist movement. "This book is especially valuable because it warns us not to exaggerate the importance of law.. If the individuals in the legislatures and the departments of justice and on the bench do not stand for the best things men stand for, men begin to wonder whether, after all, that government ought to endure. (...) So, in order to make people loyal to the state, you must make the state the kind of institution that they want to be loyal to. Such is the lesson of this very able book." Zachariah Chafee, Jr., Harvard Law Review 32:979-83. Laski was a professor at Harvard at the time of publication. He was Justice Holmes' protege and notes in his preface that some of the ideas in this book were drawn from their discussions. Their letters were later published (Howe, Mark DeWolfe, Holmes-Laski Letters. The Correspondence of Mr. Justice Holmes and Harold J. Laski, 1916-1935. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1953. 2 vols).
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