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In every generation there is need of examining anew the foundations of government. At the present time this duty is more imperative than usual; for we have recently been passing through a period of criticism upon our institutions that has created in some quarters an unwarranted depreciation of their value, in others a genuine solicitude for their preservation.

Unfortunately, little comfort is to be derived from the example of other nations. A period of unprecedented social unrest in most civilized countries has been followed by the breaking out of an armed conflict between ten Sovereign States, including five of the Great Powers of Europe—a conflict which for some of them involves a veritable struggle for existence.

What then is the State, and what is it capable of becoming? How did it originate? Whence is its authority derived? Is there any proper limit to its authority? How far are its results dependent upon the forms of government? Is there any possible modus vivendi whereby the different classes and races of mankind may dwell together in peace?

Undoubtedly these questions appeal to the intelligence of every thoughtful man, but they cannot be answered in an off-hand manner. The State is not a product of individual volition, and cannot be transformed in fact by a mere change in theory. It is, on the contrary, an historical product, and the examination of it should be approached in an historical spirit. In order to grasp the real problem, namely, progress toward our highest human ideals, it is necessary to take into account the natural conditions in which our human existence is placed. Only by an historical and comparative study of the nature of the State can we comprehend why it is that it does not actually afford to mankind that security of wellbeing which those who bear its burdens might reasonably expect.

To many it may seem that, after all, they have little or nothing to do with the State; but very brief reflection shows how much the State has to do with us. Through the Law it touches every interest and relation of our lives. Our family, property and social relations are all affected by it. The Law not only claims the privilege of regulating our conduct toward others, and even our personal habits, but it takes our possessions for public purposes and employs the public powers to enforce our obedience to all its requirements. Whence then its authority? Is its right of commandment indefinite and unlimited ? If not, what are the limits beyond which it may not justly go? And, finally, to whose hands and by what means shall be entrusted the lofty prerogative of laying down and enforcing upon us the rules according to which our whole existence is to be regulated ?


We have, no doubt, a laudable pride in thinking of ourselves as “Citizens" rather than “Subjects”; but if our citizenship is to be anything more than a disguised serfdom, we must possess guarantees of our rights and liberties. What then is our place and our part in the State, and in relation to the Law?

Here are three concepts—the State, the Law and the Citizen-that are fundamental to the realization of any high ideal of human society. They are not merely imaginary elements in a theory of


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politics; they are the existing realities upon which any sound theory of political relations must be based. They are not only the results of a long historical process; they are, in fact, the most important products of social evolution in its progress from savagery to civilization.

It is, therefore, with these three concepts, which include all the essential elements of the People's Government, that we are to deal in the following chapters. The substance of them was originally presented in the form of lectures before the Law School of the Boston University during the winter of 1915, when a strong desire was expressed that they might have a wider audience. In preparing them for publication, care has been taken to avoid all technicalities and to render them easy of comprehension by the general reader.

Beginning with the State as an embodiment of force, we shall trace its development as a human ideal. We shall see it long dominated by Law regarded as a sovereign decree, until this conception has been, in some parts of the earth at least, superseded by the idea of Law as mutual obligation. We shall witness the apparition of

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