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Essays on BenthamJurisprudence and Political Philosophy$
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H. L. A. Hart

Print publication date: 1982

Print ISBN-13: 9780198254683

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198254683.001.0001

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Sovereignty and Legally Limited Government

Sovereignty and Legally Limited Government

(p.220) IX Sovereignty and Legally Limited Government
Essays on Bentham

H. L. A. Hart

Oxford University Press

Bentham's account of legislative power agrees with that of earlier political theorists, such as Hobbes and Locke, but he differed from them with regard to the nature of the artefact and in so doing brought into political and legal theory a new and uncompromisingly positivist strain of thought. It is of course true that Hobbes's theory of law as the command of a Sovereign resembled Bentham's in many respects, but it differed from his in holding that the command of the Sovereign only constituted law because it was given to subjects already under a prior obligation arising from their contract with each other to obey him.

Keywords:   legislative power, sovereignty, Locke, legal theory, contract, positive law

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