Holmes and Laski on natural law
Rice, Mary Craig
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Using the two volumes of the Helmes-Laski Correspondence, published by Harvard and edited by Mark DeWolfe Howe, as one of its principal sources, this dissertation examines the circumstances leading up to the publication of Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes' essay, Natural Law in the Harvard Law Review in November, 1918, when Harold J. Laski was its editor. From this focus several lines of inquiry expand, developing from the two major questions of the dissertation: 1) What is Natural Law? and 2) How significant, profound and pertinent were Holmes' and Laski's contribution to the theory of Natural Law, the validity of which they denied? A last chapter examines the co-fusions in Laski's connecting together the plural sovereignty with the personality of associations theories -- ideas he apparently gathered from Otto Gierke. Gierke's position is analyzed directly from his writings, with the conclusion that he was unclear in his own formulations, and that Laski was even more unclear in what he thought Gierke said. Reasons for the vitiation of Laski's work are analyzed, and in summary his frustrations are stressed, while Holmes' great accomplishment within the framework of his own creative inconsistencies is forcefully stated. The conclusion of the whole is that no matter what they said they believed both Holmes and Laski lived and worked as though they believed in Natural Law.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Boston University.
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