The Founding Father’s Vision of the Role of Corporations!

“The end of democracy and the defeat of the American revolution will occur when government falls into the hands of the lending institutions and moneyed corporations.” Thomas Jefferson speaking on the first attempt to establish a central bank in America

The Founding Fathers declared independence from England in 1776. Independence from England was set into motion by the Boston Tea Party. The leap from being a colony of England to an independent country was set into motion by the Royalty supported financial oppression of the largest corporation of that time. That corporation’s name was East India Company which was granted a Royal Charter in 1600 by the Queen, (see HERE for more information on the history of the East India Company). The monolithic oppression of East India Company led to the Tea Party revolt which was the primary factor for the invocation of the American Revolution against its mother land, the British Umpire.

The Founding Fathers developed a great disdain and a healthy fear of the powers of corporation after the misdeeds of the East India Company. And with an identification of this healthy fear they chose to limit the role, influence, and power of corporations within the New World. The original role of corporations was to fulfill a public good and was to then to be dissolved. That’s right; corporations were given set life spans. Corporations were given charters which forbid many of the powers that corporations have today such as; influencing elections, influencing public policy, owning land, having a life span that does not expire, interlocking directorates, and many other human rights. Today, Americans assume that corporations should have these kinds of powers but these rights (or should I say WRONGS) were absolutely unthinkable to the Founding Fathers. Dare I say that the Founding Fathers would have considered this kind of corporate power UN-AMERICAN and worthy of a revolution!

The original thinking was that Corporations were to be servitude to the public and thus they had to declare their purpose, the length of their existence, the benefits to society, and the potential profit that would go to shareholders. The rationale for the profit motive for the share holders was allowed as a way to promote a financial rationale for investors to create such corporations. In fact, corporations were not allowed to own stock in other corporations, make political or charitable contributions, owners were held at a high level of criminal responsibilities for all company acts, they could have their charter revoked if they were guilty of any public harm (and often did), and a good majority of them had their profits limited. Corporations could only fulfill the role that was represented in their charter. Again, corporations were social tools that could only fulfill a limited public good. Seeing that they were created by government they were under the complete control of the government;  in my estimation that was a beautiful thing. The corporate entity has performed one of the greatest Constitutional power grab in recent history at the complete detriment of the American economy, environment, judiciary, and to most of all WE THE PEOPLE!

Abraham Lincoln once said “The money powers prey upon the nation in times of peace and conspire against it in times of adversity. It is more despotic than a monarchy, more insolent than autocracy, and more selfish than bureaucracy. It denounces as public enemies, all who question its methods or throw light upon its crimes. I have two great enemies, the Southern Army in front of me and the Bankers in the rear. Of the two, the one at my rear is my greatest foe.. corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money powers of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until the wealth is aggregated in the hands of a few, and the Republic is destroyed. ” Truer words could not be said in regards to the social cancer that eats at the body, soul, and conscious of America today!

Our government maintained a high level of control over corporations for about 130 years thereafter, but corporations slowly found ways to loosen their government enforced restrictions. With an understanding of the original role of corporations in America, one can only wonder what went WRONG! When did role of corporations and government get switched like a two partners in a marriage?!? When did corporations become the master and government become the servant? That is a question, I will address in the third blog of my 200 part blog series on the subject of Corporate Person-hood or should I call it “the lie that corporations and the rich have convinced a large section of Americans to believe“? Stay tuned for more, but until then, here a couple of quotes about corporations by Thomas Jefferson (one of our greatest Founding Fathers)…..


“The selfish spirit of commerce knows no country, and feels no passion or principle but that of gain.”
–Thomas Jefferson to Larkin Smith, 1809.

“I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country. We are completely saddled and bridled, and the bank is so firmly mounted on us that we must go where they ill guide. The dominion which the banking institutions have obtained over the minds of our citizens.. must be broken, or it will break us.”
–Thomas Jefferson

  1. January 16, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    The site is great and really very interesting too and this site is ruthless to others. Know Yo Civics will definitely ruffle some feathers on the other side, but I think that it is time to give them all hell for lowering the IQ of America.

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