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Why Were Corporations Illegal Before 1819?

While many here believe that Corporations are part of a healthy Free Market, it should be noted that our founders fought the British Corporations AS WELL AS the British Government.

So when you think it's "libertarian" to defend corporations like Monsanto, think again.

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When American colonists declared independence from England in 1776, they also freed themselves from control by English corporations that extracted their wealth and dominated trade. After fighting a revolution to end this exploitation, our country's founders retained a healthy fear of corporate power and wisely limited corporations exclusively to a business role. Corporations were forbidden from attempting to influence elections, public policy, and other realms of civic society.

Initially, the privilege of incorporation was granted selectively to enable activities that benefited the public, such as construction of roads or canals. Enabling shareholders to profit was seen as a means to that end.

The states also imposed conditions (some of which remain on the books, though unused) like these:

* Corporate charters (licenses to exist) were granted for a limited time and could be revoked promptly for violating laws.

* Corporations were often terminated if they caused public harm.

* Owners and managers were responsible for criminal acts committed on the job.

* Corporations could not make any political or charitable contributions nor spend money to influence law-making.

http://www.reclaimdemocra...
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But aren't corporations just part of the free market? Isn't that what capitalism is all about - corporate interests driving the economy?

Actually, no. Corporate libertarians would have you believe that somehow corporate dominance is entirely consistent with the values and vision of the Founding Fathers, but this is pure myth. The framers believed in limited government and free markets, but corporations were almost non-existent in the early days of the Republic. Unlike today, one could not form a corporation simply by filing a few papers with a government office; instead, permission from the government was needed (usually via an act of the Legislature)

http://www.psychologytoda...
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UPDATE:

Watch "The Corporation" documentary Free,

http://youtu.be/Y888wVY5hzw



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It may be that time of the month. You are itching and

you are fishy. Why do you think the poster cannot defend his own post and why do you have to mix topics from different threads? You are angry that you were exposed as a populist yourself. I understand that. You even pushed LaRouge garbage to us not so long ago.

Denmark has FIAT. They simply control their budget and foreign trade. The system may be not perfect, but life never is.

Wow, I am awed by your debating skills.

Thank you so much for making your nature so obvious. A habitual liar... I posted a video of LaRouche asking people if he was legit, because I never paid much attention to him. You call that "pushing" to try to paint me in the light your memo-writers have instructed, perhaps? And is throwing in personal insults part of your script, or do you get to ad-lib those?
In a way, it makes me sad when people like you reveal themselves, but in a way it is sort of funny. Times are dark, have to settle for dark humor some days.
You are actually on the dailypaul defending fiat currency.
Go home, tell your masters you need a new disguise.

Love or fear? Choose again with every breath.

Do not wiggle

no need, you have a cover from your supporters. They will generate a collective thumbs down to save your face and theirs. Almost ALL of your postings on DP is a lame populism. Since we have a big number of populists here, they see it as Libertarian truth.

You know, I rarely do this.

I consider most people here legitimate seekers of truth. I try to leave people room for bad days or even weeks. Waking up is hard to do. But every once in a while, someone makes it SO obvious that they have an agenda that is not even remotely related to liberty... I block them. POOF! They disappear from my little DP world. I think you are only the second person I have blocked, pat yourself on the back. Oh, and continue spewing nonsense, I can't hear you anymore... :)

Love or fear? Choose again with every breath.

thank you--

I'll bump as I bookmark--

it's hard to be awake; it's easier to dream--

one of the articles...

says that corporations are required to work to maximize profit and therefore cannot make ethical decisions. I wonder if this "requirement" isnt the root of the problem? Does anyone know if this is true? can anyone cite what law makes this requirement?

thanks

Corporations exist to make a

Corporations exist to make a profit. If profit is not to your liking, form a non-profit, co-op or some other kind of entity. Businesses that are for profit are what drive innovation and deliver results. Certainly, there are downsides but this is true for any human endeavor.

It is in...

the various articles of incorporation as a public corporation contracts from each state.

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~wobbles but doesn't fall down~

Film: The Corporation

Vital to understanding the history of 'The Corporation'
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y888wVY5hzw
trailer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y888wVY5hzw

Pandacentricism will be our downfall.

this movie/documentary is fascinating--

I got to just past the 1 hour and thirty minutes point and it stopped, saying, "an error has occurred; try later"--

oh well--

it's hard to be awake; it's easier to dream--

Also available divided into 23 chapters:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXNvytpgZ7M&list=PLFA50FBC214...

The DVD also has extra interviews with about 25 or 30 people - like another 3 hours.

Pandacentricism will be our downfall.

THANK you!!!

The 'chapter' I was on wouldn't come up; it kept going back to the beginning of the movie, but I got onto the next one--

:)

I'll make it work--

:)

Later:

GOT IT WORKING! :)

it's hard to be awake; it's easier to dream--

listening to it for a few minutes now--

.

it's hard to be awake; it's easier to dream--

Funny, I just recommended this to a friend 5 minutes ago

He texted "Got any another docs like Food Inc to watch"

I thought of classics that everyone must see ... texted him that title.

BUMP for later viewing!

watched the first 15 min but have to go to a meeting now.

"We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience"—Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

thanks Chris!

I added it to the thread body.

GREAT FILM

Very informative.

related: Enron The Smartest Guys in the Room

http://www.dailypaul.com/273534/enron-the-smartest-guys-in-t...

Pandacentricism will be our downfall.

Oopsie Doopsie - here's the correct trailer link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xa3wyaEe9vE

Pandacentricism will be our downfall.

besides the banks he fought the CORPS as well

I think his slogan regarding corps was something along the lines "No bodies to kick nor souls to damn!"

Oh. Who was he? Ole Hickory.

Personally i am torn on this issue.

Why shouldn't someone be liable for what they do?

Then, my experience in business has proven there are predatory lawyers and people that you need protecting from (personal assets protected) even though you actually hurt no one.

It all comes back to what is the role of govt. As long as govt. controls material amounts of wealth through personal income taxation then someone will buy influence over it.

Yep - it is the size of govt.

peAce

Liberty = Responsibility

Man.... I bet they were

Man.... I bet they were taking online classes, writing resumes and filling out job applications online too. lmao pshh lets play some monopoly

Why would we stop attacking tyrants, even out of government?

Instead of spending our time, opportunity cost; on elections, politicians, campaigns, advertisements, and traveling. We could take every dollar and every ounce of energy that we put into these "elections." Spending that economic value, the opportunity cost, attacking corporations as if they were politicians. Or should we use force and violence to stop people from making corporations? In fact, here are the shackles and please rest them lightly on my skin, master.

The Govt makes corporations...

people don't.

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~wobbles but doesn't fall down~

Do you think contracts would

Do you think contracts would not create a separate legal entity distinct from their shareholders? Early entities were done by charters... making only a few corporations absolute power over the market. Lmao come on... do you think contracts could not develope a board of directors whom shareholders appoint? Sounds alot like a corporation to me. With or without government....Finally, law always exists... even in anarchy

"shares"...

are just contracts. Also, corporations are not needed to protect the non-share assets of an investor. If a bank loans you money for some venture the bank is not liable for your actions. Unless perhaps you tell the bank upfront you are going to go do something that is criminal. But that is not a corporate law issue.

And at the end of the day, the current corporate legal structure does not protect the value of shares. If the company goes under the share value goes with it.

My bigger concern is liability of principals and partners in the operations and execution of the business of a joint venture. Contracts between the individuals engaging in the joint venture can assign personal liabilities. And insurance could be purchased, and even required by prospective customers and investors, to cover any liabilities.

You said:

"Do you think contracts would not create a separate legal entity?"

They would not be able to create a separate legal entity if the business laws only recognized individuals. Law is not inherently or intrinsically required to recognize fictions. Such is a modern "innovation".

You said:

"even in anarchy"

I'm a minarchist and believe one of the few valid roles of government is enforcement of the obligation of contracts (but only between real flesh and blood humans -- not fictions). :)

law - A rule, particularly an established or permanent rule, prescribed by the supreme power of a state to its subjects, for regulating their actions, particularly their social actions. Laws are imperative or mandatory, commanding what shall be done; prohibitory, restraining from what is to be forborn; or permissive, declaring what may be done without incurring a penalty. -- webster's 1828

Law without force is not law at all. It is mere suggestion or request.

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~wobbles but doesn't fall down~

Some problems with your position

You weren't responding to me, but I'm jumping in just for fun. ;-)

You said: "Also, corporations are not needed to protect the non-share assets of an investor. If a bank loans you money for some venture the bank is not liable for your actions."

So? That seems irrelevant to your point. What are "non-share assets" of an investor? Do you mean his car, home, personal bank account, college fund for kids, retirement fund, vacation home, etc? If so, then it is irrelevant what the bank's exposure is. What is relevant is what somebody can sue YOU for and take away YOUR assets (whether those assets are "non-share assets" or shares of your corporation or business).

You said: "And at the end of the day, the current corporate legal structure does not protect the value of shares. If the company goes under the share value goes with it."

If a company "goes under," then by definition it HAS NO VALUE. That is why it went under in the first place. If you push your car off a cliff, then the "value goes with it." If a business goes under, it has no value to protect. So, what's your point about the current corporate legal structure "protecting value?"

You said: "My bigger concern is liability of principals and partners in the operations and execution of the business of a joint venture. Contracts between the individuals engaging in the joint venture can assign personal liabilities. And insurance could be purchased, and even required by prospective customers and investors, to cover any liabilities."

Yes, this is one of the big issues. But you seem to be proposing something like a general partnership, where the partners have unlimited liability. Guess what? Any agreements you make between you and your partners regarding liabilities, HAS NO BEARING ON ME OR ANY OTHER THIRD PARTIES.

Let's say you have a partnership with someone. I do business with you. I sue you. You claim your partner is responsible for that. I say, "I don't give a damn what agreements you have with him, I am coming after ALL OWNERS, and that includes YOU."

So, you say you have a one million dollar insurance policy? Guess what? I'm going to sue you for FIVE million dollars because you might have some assets I can take. And your insurance company just might find a reason why they do not have to pay out on your policy.

You MIGHT be okay in a lawsuit with what you described -- but you very well might NOT.

You said: "[People] would not be able to create a separate legal entity if the business laws only recognized individuals. Law is not inherently or intrinsically required to recognize fictions. Such is a modern "innovation"."

True, you COULD do that. But it would be the END to any prosperity within society. You think lawsuits are bad NOW? Try removing ALL limited liability protections and you will see a free-for-all in the courts.

You said: "I'm a minarchist and believe one of the few valid roles of government is enforcement of the obligation of contracts (but only between real flesh and blood humans -- not fictions). :) "

I'm a minarchist/anarchist. My own term, but it means I recognize that government is fundamentally immoral, and I am in favor of he least government possible, whatever that might be. I'm willing to start with the US Constitution as the MAXIMUM government, and once there, I would be happy to find ways to make it smaller, or eliminate it.

I would like to point out to you, a minarchist who thinks government is necessary, that governments around the world are anarchic vis-a-vis themselves. There is NO world government (yet). Most governments get along for the most part. Just something to think about.

If we could ever get to a philosophical anarchy (no government because the people view it as immoral, rather than simply the government failed), then we would likely see all sorts of solutions to these problems. Insurance would probably be more in line with what you are referring to (part insurance/part court system/etc.).

For now, we "win" if we can reverse the direction of crony government.

Once again, I get back the the idea that it is cronyism that is the problem, not corporations, per se -- and certainly not limited liability for investors.

I'll ask again: How many investments would YOU make if you could lose EVERYTHING you will ever have if the investment goes bad? Probably not many -- or any, and neither would anyone else.

I will compose...

a reply later. I am suffering from tamale-induced nap urges. *burp* :>

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~wobbles but doesn't fall down~

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This

is the thing I'm perhaps at odds the most over. I understand Ron Pauls logic in keeping elections etc. free market. But to me, this is how the government gets taken over by the corps. As soon as elections are tied to corporations....government officials no longer work for the people...but work for the corps to get re-elected. I'm against government in almost every aspect of our lives....accept elections. I think elections should be paid for by government....and I think it should be done in a way that each individual who's running (perhaps the people who get a certain percentage of the national vote) get a certain amount of TV commercial time....and get the same amount of TV debate time funded by government. People should be allowed to hear the people running based on their ideas-and each one gets an equal amount of air time to make their case...it shouldn't be tied to how much a corporation is willing to throw into one particular individuals campaign....because to me-this is where the corporate government hybrid gets its roots and where the free market gets destroyed.

strange headline -"Illegal"?

I really enjoy this post. I also concur with the sentiment expressed by its author but for the headline. All points made by Reconstituter001 are good pouints showing the founders to be wary and skeptical of corporations, but all points made showing corporations to be "granted", "limited", and "restricted" also show that corporations were NOT illegal. The headline deceives.