Sheryl MacKay_ENC 1102-12_Corporate Personhood

Sheryl MacKay_ENC 1102-12_Corporate Personhood - Corporate...

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Corporate Personhood 1 Running head: CORPORATE PERSONHOOD Corporate Personhood Sheryl MacKay Everest College Online Composition II ENC 1102-1001 Lauren Sabel June 18, 2010
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Corporate Personhood 2 Abstract Today corporations have undue influence and power in the world and in our communities. Few people know that a key to this power is the corporate claim to “personhood”. To get a better understanding of corporate personhood we need to look at the history of corporate personhood and the 14 th Amendment.
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Corporate Personhood 3 Corporate Personhood Corporate Personhood is a term used to describe United States law that allows corporations to have inalienable rights (sometimes called constitutional rights) just like human persons. The choice of the word “person” in “personhood” arises from the way the 14 th Amendment to the United States Constitution was worded and from earlier legal usage of the word person. In the United States of America all natural persons (actual human beings) are recognized as having inalienable rights. These rights are recognized among other places, in the United States Bill of Rights and the 14 th Amendment to the United States Constitution. Corporations were detested by the colonial rebels in 1776 when the Declaration of Independence severed the states from Great Britain. There had been only a few corporations in colonial America, but they had been very powerful. Corporations had effectively governed Virginia, Maryland, and North and South Carolina. The political history of the colonies up until 1776 was largely one of conflict between citizens trying to establish rule by elected government and the corporations or King ruling through appointed governors. The corporations that survived the revolution were mainly non-profit institutions such as colleges. There was not a single bank in the United States until 1780. Most of that first bank’s stock was owned by the confederate (what we now call Federal) government and the bank’s charter was revoked in 1785. “The agrarian charges were numerous…the bank was a monstrosity, an artificial creature endowed with powers not possessed by human beings and incompatible with the principles of a democratic social order.” (Hammond, Bray, Banks and Politics in America from the Revolution to the Civil War (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1991), Pgs. 48-54) By 1790 four banks had been granted corporate charters by states, but these banks were not originally purely private institutions. They served as financial institutions for the states that charted them. (Ibid. 65-67)
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Corporate Personhood 4 The Federal Constitution of 1788 did not mention corporations at all. But in the late 1700s and early 1800s corporations began to be charted by the states. This was not without opposition. Thomas Jefferson said, “I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations which dare already to challenge our government in a trial of strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country.” Like the banks, other early corporations were closely supervised by the states
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This note was uploaded on 08/30/2010 for the course EVS 2021-1001 taught by Professor Smith during the Summer '10 term at Everett CC.

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Sheryl MacKay_ENC 1102-12_Corporate Personhood - Corporate...

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