From the beginning, students of Hans Kelsen’s legal theory have assumed that he subscribes to a conventional doctrine of legal norms. The conventional view of Kelsen’s theory was set into granite by H.L.A. Hart, who offers a brief statement in The Concept of Law, a statement that has been enormously influential. Kelsen, however, had something else in mind. Already in his first major work, Main Problems in the Theory of Public Law (1911), he gave voice to a programme for what would prove to be a decidedly radical theory of legal norms. No later than the end of the 1930s, the theory culminates in the form of empowerment — and its Hohfeldian permutations — as the fundamental legal modality, with obligation understood as derivative. Kelsen pursues this view up to and including the second edition of the Pure Theory of Law (1960).