Skip to main content

The American Presidency: An Interpretation: manuscript

Identifier: W-0122

Scope and Contents

This collection contains an unbound, handwritten manuscript of The American Presidency: An Interpretation, written by British political scientist Harold Joseph Laski. This unbound manuscript, dated 1939, is a fairly complete draft of the book, containing only a few minor edits. The book is based on a series of lectures Laski presented at the University of Indiana in 1939. It includes chapters on presidential interactions with Cabinet and Congress, and a chapter on foreign relations. The American Presidency was published in 1940.


  • 1939


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection. Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Due to the nature of certain archival formats, including digital and audio-visual materials, access to certain materials may require additional advance notice.

Biographical / Historical

Harold Joseph Laski was a British political theorist and an active member of the British Labour Party. Laski was born on June 30, 1893, in Manchester, England. In 1911, Laski married Frieda Kerrey.

Laski graduated from Oxford University in 1914 and began an influential political and academic career. Laski left England in 1914 and accepted teaching appointments at Montreal's McGill University (1914-1916) and Harvard University (1916-1920). While teaching at Harvard, Laski cultivated friendships with a number of influential political figures, including Supreme Court justices Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. and Louis Brandeis.

In 1920, Laski returned to England, where he became an active member of the Labour Party. In 1926, he became a political science professor at the London School of Economics and Political Science, where he taught until his death in 1950. Following the Great Depression, Laski's political and academic work was increasingly shaped by Marxist theory. During the 1930s and 1940s, Laski published a number of works on political science, including The State in Theory and Practice (1935), The Rise of European Liberalism: An Essay in Interpretation (1936), and The American Democracy: A Commentary and Interpretation (1948). In 1945, Laski was elected to serve as the Labour Party chairman; however, his tenure was largely ineffective due to tensions between Laski and Prime Minister Clement Attlee.

Laski died on March 24, 1950, in London.

Source: Encyclopedia Britannica


0.15 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Unbound, handwritten manuscript of Harold Joseph Lanski's The American President: An Interpretation.

Physical Location

The A. S. Williams III Americana Collection, Amelia Gayle Gorgas Library, The University of Alabama


Gift of A. S. Williams III, 2010

Related Materials

Harold J. Laski Collection, Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries

Processed by

Haley Aaron, 2013



Guide to The American Presidency: An Interpretation: manuscript
January 2014
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the The University of Alabama Libraries Special Collections Repository

Box 870266
Tuscaloosa AL 35487-0266