Naturalistic theory of local government

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NATURALISTIC THEORY OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT – a concept inspired by the philosophy of natural law and liberalism that reined at the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries that described the local government as a natural political institution that was part of public phenomena, not legal ones. The representatives of this current, fighting the ruling absolute monarchies, were contrasting the state with local government. One can refer to J. Lock’s thought, where he assumed that the objective of the state is to ensure the freedom of the individual. He also believed that the municipality is a form preceding the state which allowed to assume that it was not created as a result of the state law but is a legal person in the same way as a human. It was reasoned that because the local government is a sovereign primary to the state (it was believed in the spirit of the Aristotle’s thought that thanks to the municipality the institution of the state could emerge), it should have a wide autonomy to act. It was presumed that the municipality is not a creation of the positive law (that is an effect of the state’s creation), but a consequence of a natural process, thus a category of natural law. Based on these assumptions, a division of tasks of local governments was formed into its own tasks and commissioned tasks. It was believed that the local government is not a subject of a decentralized public administration, but a natural political institution which was supposed to be a school of civic virtues. The manifestations of naturalistic perception of local government can be found in the works of such Polish thinkers as: Joachim Lelewel, Piotr Górski, Aleksander Kroński, Stanisław Kasznica, Józef Staryszak [ M. Jęczarek ].

Literature: A. Bosiacki, Od naturalizmu do etatyzmu: doktryny samorządu terytorialnego Drugiej Rzeczypospolitej 1918–1939, Warszawa 2006 ■ R. Kamiński, Samorząd terytorialny w III Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej: odbudowa i jej efekty, Łódź 2014 ■ S. Wójcik, Samorząd terytorialny w Polsce w XX wieku, Lublin 1999.