– Abraham Lincoln, 1864 [16th US President, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865]
“The real truth of the matter is, as you and I know, that a financial element in the large centers has owned the government of the U.S. since the days of Andrew Jackson.”
– U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt [32nd President of the United States (1933–1945)], in a letter written Nov. 21, 1933 to Colonel E. Mandell House.
[Note: Andrew Jackson (March 15, 1767 – June 8, 1845) was the 7th President of the United States (1829–1837), not to be mistaken with Andrew Johnson, Lincoln’s VP and 17th President (as I mistakenly did at the time of posting)]
“I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. Already they have raised up a money aristocracy that has set the government at defiance. This issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people to whom it properly belongs. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of the moneyed corporations which already dare to challenge our Government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country.”
-Thomas Jefferson, 1791 [American Founding Father, the principal author of the Declaration of Independence (1776) and the third President of the United States (1801–1809).]
SOURCE of below text: Democracy Unlimited of Humboldt County:
The Hidden History of Corporate Rule
British Crown Corporations began operating in North America with the start of European settlement. These Crown Corporations, also known as colonial corporations, were a tool to export wealth back to the stockholders and the monarch that chartered them. The creation of corporations expanded empire and made the aristocracy wealthy. These early crown corporations were given the right to levy taxes, wage war, and imprison people all while enjoying a monopoly over trade in the regions where they operated. As Thomas Hobbes stated, corporations are “chips off the old block of sovereignty.”
It was clear though that these corporations possessed no rights of their own, but were rather artificial creations of the monarch, that existed for the benefit of the sovereign monarch. At any point the sovereign could revoke a corporation’s charter (the legal document that allows a corporation to exist).
Colonial anger and resentment against corporate power grew as the English Parliament introduced measures that protected trade by Crown corporations over that of local colonial merchants. In direct protest against Parliament’s tax protections that subsidized the East India Company, colonists organized an act of civil disobedience that came to be known as the Boston Tea Party. In that one act of property destruction, colonists destroyed the equivalent of one million dollars of the Company’s property.
Corporations After the American Revolution
After the American Revolution sovereign power was allegedly transferred from a monarch to “We the people.” Obviously the idea of vesting power in the people was noble, but only about 10% of the population counted as “people” with full citizenship rights. Those who were not white, male and property owners were not legally considered “people”. Over the next two hundred years groups excluded from “We the People” have struggled to be legally defined as “persons.”
For people immersed in a corporate world it is hard to imagine that in the 1800s corporations were only one form of doing business rather than the form. (As late as 1900 only 10 per cent of manufacturing companies in California even had a corporate charter.) The corporate form, was recognized to have certain utility in aggregating capital for large scale projects, which is why “the people” allowed them to exist at all.
Of course the concentration of capital also brings with it inherent risk for the populace. For this reason the formation of corporations was restricted to parameters set up by state constitutions and constrained by specific limitations in the state codes. The early 1800s frequently reiterated the fact that corporations could only be created for public benefit.
The Supreme Court of Virginia stated in 1809 that if an applicant for a corporate charter’s “object is merely private or selfish; if it is detrimental to, or not promotive of, the public good, they have no adequate claim upon the legislature for the privileges.” A comparison of state laws from the early 1800’s shows that corporations had limits on capitalization, debts, land holdings, and sometimes profits. They could not own stock in other corporations, could not have their headquarters outside their chartering state, nor could they keep their financial books closed to public representatives or make political or charitable contributions. In dramatic contrast to today, corporate stockholders and directors were often held personally responsible for crimes and harms they committed and debts they incurred under the name of the corporation.
Stated simply, corporations were properly understood to be public institutions created by democratically elected representatives of the sovereign people.
The Corporate Return to Power
Only one year after the Civil War ended, individual states began to compete for corporate charters, and the income which charters generated. At the same time people’s movements against corporations were growing in strength. These movements were fueled by fear and resentment of concentrated corporate power that had boomed as a result of the Industrial Revolution and the Civil War.
This raging struggle led President Rutherford B. Hayes to say in 1876: “This is a government of the people, by the people, and for the people no longer. It is a government of corporations, by corporations, and for corporations.”
In 1886, ten years after President Hayes spoke those words, the relationship between United States citizens and their corporate creations changed even more dramatically: corporations became “natural persons” under the law, sheltered by the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment. It all started here in California in a court case titled “Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad”. Later that year, the U.S. Supreme Court let the state court ruling stand with these words: “The Court does not wish to hear the arguments on whether the provision in the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution applies to these corporations. We are all of the opinion that it does.” Sixty years later, Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas wrote, “There was no history, logic, or reason given to support that view.”
Continue reading: http://www.duhc.org/page/the-hidden-history-of