The wisdom of this traditional English legal institution found its way to America through Blackstone's , which was assiduously studied by lawyers of the founding generation and by many of the founders themselves.
The wisdom of this traditional English legal institution found its way to America through Blackstone's , which was assiduously studied by lawyers of the founding generation and by many of the founders themselves.Tags: Essay On Money And HappinessSelected Essays HumeSwedish School System EssayStephen King Essay On Gun ViolenceMarketing Plans For Small BusinessesCreative Writing Masters Distance LearningUcla College Essay PromptsSylvia Plath EssaysEssay On Homosexuality
They have been since the beginning of the American republic, making corporate personhood deeply rooted in our legal and constitutional tradition.
When conservatives point out, as Mitt Romney notably did in his presidential campaign, that corporations are and should be considered people for certain purposes, they're pointing out what the left seems to have forgotten.
Without the corporate form, an association of individuals could not make binding rules to govern its members or internal structure.
Without certain rights, it could not hold property indefinitely as an association — the death of the association's members would mean the death of the association.
The very table of contents of that work bears witness to the legal tradition of granting rights to corporate persons.
Chapter 18, "Of Corporations," is placed in "Book the First: The Rights of Persons." Corporations as legal forms, Blackstone explained, are "artificial persons," created by law "for the advantage of the public." The rights accorded to the corporate form, he thus suggested, were granted in order to encourage cooperation among individuals with a view to socially useful ends.Accordingly, America's perpetuation as such a society requires that we understand and defend corporate personhood and corporate rights against this criticism from the left.THE LONG TRADITION OF CORPORATE RIGHTS The idea that corporations have legal rights, and therefore a kind of personhood, is not an invention of contemporary conservatives.The corporate form was developed, he noted, particularly for "the advancement of religion, of learning, and of commerce." Just as in Blackstone's day, when corporations would have included not only the British East India Company but also Oxford and Cambridge, today's concept of the corporation embraces not only for-profit enterprises like Apple and General Electric but also non-profit institutions like the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the New York Philharmonic.Indeed, the first corporation chartered in America was not a business but an institution of higher learning — what is now Harvard University.They're pointing out that, though corporations may not be natural persons — that is, discrete, individual human beings whose rights somehow originate in nature — corporations nevertheless are and should be entitled to certain legal and constitutional rights.This is not to say that corporate rights operate in the same way as do the rights of natural persons.Entrepreneurs grew skilled at assembling contractors into a virtual enterprise.More recently we have seen Uberization, which allows on-demand labor to be contracted by the task via online platforms.The number of public corporations in the United States has been in decline for almost twenty years.Alternative forms of organization, from LLCs and benefit corporations to Linux and Wikipedia, provide robust competition to traditional corporations, while short-lived, project-based enterprises that assemble supply chains from available parts are increasingly cost effective.