Harold J. Laski (Dictionary of World Biography: Twentieth Century)
Article abstract: Laski combined a strong commitment to social democracy with an equally strong faith in education; his career as a professor at the London School of Economics provided him with the opportunity to develop his political theory while also enabling him to influence the intellectual debate about the Labour Party program of the 1930’s and 1940’s.
Harold Joseph Laski was born June 30, 1893, in Manchester, the son of affluent Jewish parents who were among the leaders of the city’s Jewish community. At an early age, Laski showed a penchant for academic achievement, the precursor of his own academic career. Laski attended New College, Oxford, where he studied history and politics and received a variety of intellectual influences, particularly the scholarship of Frederic Maitland and Otto von Gierke. After graduation in 1914, Laski’s frail physique prevented him from service in the armed forces. Laski possessed a slight build, dark eyes that gave him the appearance of an inquisitor, and large glasses that invested him with the air of a university don. Laski was estranged from his family for a long period because of his marriage at eighteen to a woman six years his senior. This marriage survived all obstacles until Laski’s death. Denied his father’s financial support, Laski secured a position as lecturer in history at McGill University in Canada.
Laski remained at McGill for two...
(The entire section is 1726 words.)
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