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Harold Dwight Lasswell 1902-1978, 88 Yale Law Journal 675 (1979)


It is not possible at this time, if ever it will be, adequately to commemorate Harold Lasswell. The intellectual heritage he has left us is too great and too various, and his dedicated, pioneering, omnicompetent, and compassionate presence is still too recently and too intensely among us.

Lasswell, a prime mover in the "behavioral revolution" in political science at the University of Chicago, was an occasional guest lecturer, under the auspices of Thurman Arnold, Edward Sapir, and John Dollard, at the Yale Law School in the early 1930s when American legal realism was first breaking upon the scene. He accepted an appointment as Visiting Sterling Lecturer, and joined with me in teaching a graduate seminar upon "Property in a Crisis Society" in the late 1930s when many scholars were beginning to seek a more constructive jurisprudence than either American legal realism or the positivism that it had debunked. He became a full-time member of the faculty shortly after World War II at a time when the horrors of that war had made clear to all the need for both a better law and a better theory about law, and remained on the faculty, under various titles of distinction, until his retirement in 1970. During those years, he developed his ideas about jurisprudence, international law, and criminal law, teaching with colleagues such courses as "Law, Science, and Policy," "The Public Order of the World Community," "Criminal Law and Public Order," "Communication and Law," and "Case Presentation and Negotiation."

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