Event Title

The Development of the Corporation in New Hampshire, 1760-1837

Location

Edwards 102

Document Type

Oral/PowerPoint Presentation (10 minutes and 5 minute Q and A)

Description

The striking correlation between the structure of the American Constitution and corporate charters, along with the close proximity of the national governance debate and the corporate charter growth of the 1790s, has resulted in some historians starting their corporation arguments in the Early Republic, after the creation of the Constitution. But correlation is not causation and American corporation history did not start with the Constitution. The state and national constitutions were not the beginning of the corporate era, they were a step—albeit a major step—along the American corporation continuum. Corporate structures may be found in colonial town charters, colonial infrastructure charters (ferries and bridges), in colonial charters for schools and churches, and in the state and federal constitutions themselves. It was the post-Revolution self-governing state, the immediate need for expensive infrastructure to remediate the effects of colonialism (and the lack of wealthy individuals to fund it), and later the privations associated with the Embargo of 1807 that added Early Republic fuel to the colonial-based corporate foundation. The corporations in colonial New Hampshire started small, local, and with a benevolent, if not quasi-governmental, purpose. In the 1790s the corporations became more regional is scope and more capital intensive. It was not until the onset of the embargo in the early 1800s that what the contemporary observer might call a true business corporation came into existence.

Start Date

April 2014

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 
Apr 26th, 2:20 PM

The Development of the Corporation in New Hampshire, 1760-1837

Edwards 102

The striking correlation between the structure of the American Constitution and corporate charters, along with the close proximity of the national governance debate and the corporate charter growth of the 1790s, has resulted in some historians starting their corporation arguments in the Early Republic, after the creation of the Constitution. But correlation is not causation and American corporation history did not start with the Constitution. The state and national constitutions were not the beginning of the corporate era, they were a step—albeit a major step—along the American corporation continuum. Corporate structures may be found in colonial town charters, colonial infrastructure charters (ferries and bridges), in colonial charters for schools and churches, and in the state and federal constitutions themselves. It was the post-Revolution self-governing state, the immediate need for expensive infrastructure to remediate the effects of colonialism (and the lack of wealthy individuals to fund it), and later the privations associated with the Embargo of 1807 that added Early Republic fuel to the colonial-based corporate foundation. The corporations in colonial New Hampshire started small, local, and with a benevolent, if not quasi-governmental, purpose. In the 1790s the corporations became more regional is scope and more capital intensive. It was not until the onset of the embargo in the early 1800s that what the contemporary observer might call a true business corporation came into existence.