PLEASE READ AND UNDERSTAND THE HISTORY OF CORPORATE CHARTERS. MODERN CORPORATIONS ARE DESTROYING OUR FREEDOM AND WAY OF LIFE. THEY DO NOT REPRESENT THE FREE MARKET. THEY ARE MONOPOLISTIC, TYRRANICAL CANCERS ON SOCIETY THAT HAVE COMPLETELY HIJACKED OUR GOVERNMENT, INCLUDING THE TREASURY, MILITARY AND POLICE:
EXCERPT, from the book Taking Care of Business: Citizenship and the Charter of Incorporation, by Richard L. Grossman and Frank T. Adams:
Under pressure from industrialists and bankers, a handful of 19th-century state legislatures and judges gave corporations more rights than those enjoyed by human beings. Today's business corporation is an artificial creation, shielding owners and managers while preserving corporate privilege and existence by claiming special protections.
Although the US Constitution makes no mention of corporations, the history of constitutional law is, as former Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter said, "the history of the impact of the modern corporation upon the American scene."
Having thrown off British rule, the revolutionaries delegated their elected state legislators to issue corporate charters on the people's behalf. For 100 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, citizen vigilance and activism forced legislators to keep corporations on a short civic leash.
Because of widespread opposition to corporations, those early legislators granted very few charters. They denied charters altogether when communities opposed the plans of prospective incorporators.
Citizens governed corporations by specifying rules and operating conditions -- not just in the charters, but also in state constitutions and laws. Incorporated businesses were banned from taking any action that citizens and legislators did not specifically allow.
States limited corporate charters to a set number of years. Citizen authority clauses dictated rules for issuing stock, for shareholder voting, for obtaining corporate information, for paying dividends and for keeping records. They limited corporate capitalization, debts, land holdings and sometimes profits. They required a company's books to be turned over to a legislature upon request.
The power of large shareholders was limited by scaled voting, so that large and small investors had equal voting rights. Interlocking corporation directorates were outlawed. Shareholders had the right to remove directors at will.
Side by side with these legislative controls, citizens experimented with various forms of enterprise and finance. Artisans and mechanics owned and managed diverse businesses. Farmers and millers organized profitable cooperatives, shoemakers created unincorporated business associations. None of these enterprises had the rights and powers of modern corporations.