How Corporations Became Individuals

Posted on July 18, 2008

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http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Nader/Corps_Not_Persons_RNR.html

The Rise of Corporations by Anup Shah

O.K To reprint but include link and Name of Article:

From: http://www.globalissues.org/TradeRelated/Corporations/Rise.asp

—From President Abraham Lincoln

I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. … corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.
— U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, Nov. 21, 1864 (letter to Col. William F. Elkins) Ref: “The Lincoln Encyclopedia”, Archer H. Shaw (Macmillan, 1950, NY)

From http://www.globalissues.org/TradeRelated/Corporations/Rise.asp

[A U.S.] Supreme Court ruling in 1886 … arguably set the stage for the full-scale development of the culture of capitalism, by handing to corporations the right to use their economic power in a way they never had before. Relying on the Fourteenth Amendment, added to the Constitution in 1868 to protect the rights of freed slaves, the Court ruled that a private corporation is a natural person under the U.S. Constitution, and consequently has the same rights and protection extended to persons by the Bill of Rights, including the right to free speech. Thus corporations were given the same “rights” to influence the government in their own interests as were extended to individual citizens, paving the way for corporations to use their wealth to dominate public thought and discourse. The debates in the United States in the 1990s over campaign finance reform, in which corporate bodies can “donate” millions of dollars to political candidates stem from this ruling although rarely if ever is that mentioned. Thus, corporations, as “persons,” were free to lobby legislatures, use the mass media, establish educational institutions such as many business schools founded by corporate leaders in the early twentieth century, found charitable organizations to convince the public of their lofty intent, and in general construct an image that they believed would be in their best interests. All of this in the interest of “free speech.”

— Richard Robbins, Global Problems and the Culture of Capitalism, (Allyn and Bacon, 1999), p.100 (Bold Emphasis Added)

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Posted in: Politics