early in the American Republic. I think they have a valid purpose of allowing a person to risk a small portion of their wealth on some venture without risking it all in a lawsuit should some disaster happen. But their size and power have gotten out of hand and they now do more harm than good. The book "Localism, A Philosophy of Government" lays out what limits corporations must have in order to prevent having a society where artificial persons have more rights than natural ones.
Localism is for people who can still sleep at night even though somebody they don't know in a city they have never been is doing things differently. ("Localism, A Philosophy of Government" on Amazon for Kindle or Barnes and Noble ebook websites)