115 Chapters
Medium 9781605095592

CHAPTER 6 The Early Role of Corporations in America

Hartmann, Thom Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

An effort is being made to build a railroad from Springfield to Alton. A [corporate] charter has been granted by the legislature, and books are now open for subscriptions to the stock. The chief reliance for taking the stock must be on the eastern capitalists; yet, as an inducement to them, we, here must do something. We must stake something of our own in the enterprise, to convince them that we believe it will succeed, and to place ourselves between them and subsequent unfavorable legislation, which, it is supposed, they very much dread.

—Illinois Congressman Abraham Lincoln, addressing the leaders of Sangamon County, Illinois, June 30, 1847

JANE ANNE MORRIS IS A CORPORATE ANTHROPOLOGIST AND WRITER IN Madison, Wisconsin, and she is affiliated with the Program on Corporations, Law, and Democracy (POCLAD), one of the leading organizations doing research and work in illuminating the story of corporate personhood.

Morris discovered that on the eve of his becoming chief justice of Wisconsin’s Supreme Court, Edward G. Ryan said ominously in his 1873 address to the graduating class of the University of Wisconsin Law School,

See All Chapters
Medium 9781605095592

CHAPTER 21 Unequal Media

Hartmann, Thom Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.

—Thomas Jefferson, letter to James Currie, January 28, 1786

IN RESEARCHING THIS BOOK, I RAN ACROSS AN ASTONISHING PIECE OF WRITing from our nation’s early years. It’s a fitting prologue for this chapter. In May 1831, a young French aristocrat named Alexis de Tocqueville arrived in the young nation of the United States of America. He was here at a pivotal time in American history. In the “Revolution of 1800,” Thomas Jefferson had ousted John Adams’s minority Federalist Party (largely made up of what Jefferson called “the rich and the well born”) and shifted control of the government to the Jeffersonian Democrats. To de Tocqueville (and most Europeans), American democracy was still very much an unproven experiment. De Tocqueville himself was skeptical that the American Experiment would last, as he thought that the “natural” state of man was to live in an aristocracy, but he was fascinated by the idea of an aristocracy made up of the workers. He was both skeptical and hopeful.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781576757611

Framing

Hartmann, Thom Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub
Medium 9781576757611

The True Story of the Boston Tea Party

Hartmann, Thom Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Adapted from Unequal Protection: How Corporations
Became “People”—and How You Can Fight Back

ON A COLD NOVEMBER EVENING, ACTIVISTS GATHERED IN A COASTAL town. The corporation had gone too far, and the 2,000 people who’d jammed into the meeting hall were torn as to what to do about it. Unemployment was exploding, and the economic crisis was deepening; corporate crime, governmental corruption spawned by corporate cash, and an ethos of greed were blamed. “Why do we wait?” demanded one at the meeting, a fisherman named George Hewes. “The more we delay, the more strength is acquired” by the company and its puppets in the government. “Now is the time to prove our courage,” he said. Soon the moment came when the crowd decided for direct action and rushed into the streets.

That is how I tell the story of the Boston Tea Party, now that I have read a first-person account of it. While striving to understand my nation’s struggles against corporations, I came upon a first edition of A Retrospect of the Boston Tea-Party with a Memoir of George R. T. Hewes, a Survivor of the Little Band of Patriots Who Drowned the Tea in Boston Harbour in 1773,1 and I jumped at the chance to buy it. Because the identities of the Boston Tea Party participants were hidden (other than Samuel Adams) and all were sworn to secrecy for the next 50 years, this volume (published 61 years later) is the only first-person account of the event by a participant that exists, so far as I can find. As I read I began to understand the true causes of the American Revolution.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781605097060

Acknowledgments

Hartmann, Thom Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

SAFIR AHMED TOOK ON THE UNENVIABLE JOB OF EDITING THIS book on the fly as I was writing it during various trips and weekends and moments I could grab over the past year after I got off the air every day. It came to him in bits and pieces, sometimes inchoate, and he did a marvelous job of stitching together my many off-the-cuff writings. I’m deeply grateful for his work as the primary editor on this book.

Without the advocacy, insight, and tough editorial work of Johanna Vondeling at Berrett-Koehler and the brainstorming brilliance of my wife, Louise Hartmann, this book would not exist.

I’m particularly grateful to others at Berrett-Koehler who brought this book into being and made it work, both editorially, graphically, and in the marketplace. They include Richard Wilson, Dianne Platner, Jeevan Sivasubramaniam, marketing associate Jeremy Sullivan, senior sales manager Michael Crowley, sales manager Marina Cook, and publicist Katie Sheehan. And many thanks and much gratitude to a couple of real pros—Gary Palmatier and Elizabeth von Radics of Ideas to Images—for the book’s design and copyediting.

See All Chapters

See All Chapters