Date of Award

5-28-2015

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

History

First Advisor

Jose Torre

First Reader

James Spiller

Abstract

This essay argues the American corporations formed in the 1790s were a direct outgrowth of the positive experience the people had with colonial corporations. Due to restrictions placed by the king on the types of corporations permissible in the colonies, the corporations that were created were town-based, that is they were created to perform the responsibilities the province gave to the towns. In the 1760s and 1770s the far-flung, poor towns of New Hampshire could not provide for themselves the type of infrastructure the province demanded: roads, causeways, and bridges. The people, recognizing the value the colonial corporations provided to their towns, expanded their use after independence and the 1780s economic depression. This essay uses New Hampshire as the basis for study. Primary source materials include: petitions, corporate charters (laws), town inventories, and journals of the legislature. The corporations studied are colonial era towns, ferries, and lotteries; Confederation era toll bridges; and Constitutional era canals, social libraries, turnpikes, and manufacturing.

Included in

History Commons

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