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The Pluralistic State

  • Ellen Deborah Ellis (a1)


The doctrine of the pluralistic state has found its most outspoken advocate in this country in Mr. Harold J. Laski,—an Englishman, recently of Harvard University, and more recently still called back to England to the London School of Economics of the University of London. A number of channels of thought have come together in Mr. Laski's present formulation of the doctrine. Among those in England from whom he received much inspiration and suggestion may be mentioned the late Professor Maitland, and Dr. J. Neville Figgis, as well as Mr. Graham Wallas, and Mr. Ernest Barker.

Professor Maitland's work in this field is closely associated with that of Dr. Otto Gierke in Germany, to the third volume of one of whose works, Das Deutsche Genossenschaftsrecht, which Professor Maitland translated, he wrote his famous Introduction in which he stated his own views with regard to the real and truly corporate personality, not only of the state but of other social groupings as well. Another of Gierke's works is Die Genossenschaftstheorie, in which it is attempted to show, to quote Dr. Figgis, “how under the facts of modern life the civilian theory of corporations is breaking down on all hands, and that even in Germany, in spite of the deliberate adoption of the Romanist doctrine, the courts and sometimes even the laws are being driven to treat corporate societies as though they were real and not fictitious persons, and to regard such personality as the natural consequence of permanent association, not a mere mark to be imposed or withheld by the sovereign power.”



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1 Figgis, , Churches in the Modern State, pp. 55, 56.

2 Seo especially The New State, pp. 282 ff.

3 Gierke, , Political Theories of the Middle Age, p. 88.

4 The Nation, July 5, 1919, p. 21.

5 Churches in the Modern State, pp. 84–85.

6 Authority in the Modern State, p. 45.

7 Political Theories of the Middle Age, p. 95.

8 Authority in the Modern State, pp. 45–46.

9 Churches in the Modern State, p. 224.

10 Churches in the Modern State, p. 90.


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