CHAPTER XVI
LOCAL COMMUNITIES AND THEIR AGENCIES

The study of local government presents many points of analogy with the study of government as a whole. Indeed, the study of local government may, with some reservations, be thought of as the study of national government in miniature. In this way, the study possesses the manifest advantage of rendering more easily possible a perspective that envisages the whole. The view has long been held that a principal reason for the high pitch to which political theory was carried by the ancient Greeks is the fact that the state for the Greeks assumed, in general, the proportions of a modern municipality. Modern municipalities, it is true, do not generally possess the high degree of autonomy and independence that characterized the ancient Greek city-state; but, at the same time, the study of modern localities possesses, by analogy, many of the same advantages of perspective.

Local government, as its name implies, definitely involves certain localities or areas. In this way, territory, with its population, is a physical basis of local government, as it is of government in general. In turn, the several areas of local government possess governments, whether in the sense of structure or function; that is to say, they possess legal organizations exercising authority of a legal nature. In all these respects, local government is analogous to the government of sovereign and independent states. That which prevents technically the analogy from being an identity is precisely the characteristic of sovereignty and independence.

If the study of local government is of great importance in general, the study of English Local Government is particularly important. The marked genius of the British for self-government has brought them a high degree of success in solving the

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