Citizenship and the Charter of Incorporation

Part II

By Richard L. Grossman and Frank I. Adams


Part I
A Sample Citizens' Resolution
Selected Bibliography


Chartering a corporation is the citizens' historic right, and a civic responsibility. Many corporations serve the common good but too many cause injury, corrode our democracy, and poison the earth.

To halt corporate harm, we citizens must redefine the corporation, reclaim our sovereign authority over the corporation, and when necessary, revoke charters of incorporation.

We urge local and state elected officials to adopt this Resolution:

Whereas, only citizens have sovereign authority to grant charters of incorporation; now,

Therefore, be it resolved, that the legislature of this state: -

  • Redefine the process and criteria for granting corporate charters to our specifications; and,

  • Restore civic authority over the governance of existing corporate charters to our specifications; and,

  • Finally, revoke the charters of harmful corporations, and revoke the certificates of authority of harmful foreign and alien corporations operating in our state.



["Neither the claims..."]: Berle and Means, p. 310.


[ "It concerned the People..." ]: Thomas Allen quoted in Handlin, p. 16.


[ "...the history..."]: Felix Frankfurter quoted in Miller, P. 1.
["Corporations confronted..." ]: Friedman, P. 456.
[ "...what each of us..." ]: Cohen, P. 47.
["...that the rights..." ]: Reverdy Ransom quoted in Meier, p. 185.
[ " Beneath the shade... " ]: Paine, p. 124.


[ " Chartered corporations are... " ]: Earle, p. 19.
[ "...a commodity being as much..."]: Hartz, p. 196. Page 8
["...object is merely.. " ]: Virginia Supreme Court quoted in Horwitz, p. 112.
[ "...subject to be thrown open... " ]; James Kent quoted in Dodd, p. 44.
[ "A corporation in law..."]: Report of the Packer Committee of the Pennsylvania Legislature, quoted in Goodrich, p. 374.
For details on charter limitations and citizen authority clauses, see Berle and Means, Blandi, Cadman, Dodd, Friedman, Handlin, Hartz, Pisani (in Thelan).

[ "Every person who shall..."]: Massachusetts law quoted in Berle notes.
["...individually and personally..."]: First California Constitution quoted in Cadman, p. 191.
["to an additional amount..."]: in Cadman, p. 191.
["There is no good reason..."]: Henry Hubbard quoted in Dodd, p. 395.

For details on liability, see Blandi, Cadman, Dodd, Friedman, Hartz.

["A private corporation..."]: Joseph Story quoted in Dodd, p. 60.
[ " It is aristocracy... " ]: Earle, P. 3 0.
["Sure I am that..."]: David Henshaw quoted in Blau, p. 182.
[ "... revoke, alter or annul... " ]: Hartz, p. 2 3 9.
["...the charter or acts..."]: Rhode island Legislature in 1857 quoted in Berle notes.
[ ". - -alter, revoke or annul... " ]: Pennsylvania Legislature in 1857
quoted in Hartz, p. 240.
[ "...released their powers..."]: Dodge v. Woolsey, U.S. Supreme Court quoted in Dodd, p. 130.

For details on revocation clauses, see Berle notes, Blandi, Cadman, Hartz, Horwitz.


["We ... do look..." ]: Amherst mechanics quoted in Handlin, Appendix F, p. 266.
[ "...legislate for the whole people..."]: Equal Rights Party resolution quoted in Byrdsall, p. 41.
["...the Legislature ought..."]: Trenton Emporium & True American quoted in Cadman, p. 76.
["Incarcerated within..." ]: Juliana quoted in Baxandall et al., p. 68.
["borers"]: Hartz, p. 309.
[ "...left few stones... " ]: Ginsberg et al, p. 8.
[ "...committing serious violations... " ]: Dodd, p. 181.
["... not keeping their roads... "] 1: Dodd, p. 181.
["No constitutional..."]: Friedman, p. 446.
["...vacate the charters..."]: New York Constitutional Convention, 1876, quoted in Lloyd, p. 425.
["Roaming and piratical..."]: William W Cook, quoted in Friedman, p. 458.
["...fraud, negligence, misconduct..."]: Rhode Island law quoted in Berle notes.
[ "Provision shall be made..."]: Virginia Constitution quoted in Berle notes.
[ "...to reverse or annul..."]: quoted in Martin, p. 510.
["...alI corporations are..."]: quoted in Martin, p. 513.
["We, the farmers..." ]: quoted in Martin, p. 51 0.

For details on job blackmail by corporate managers, see Kazis & Grossman.


[ "...principle of eternal truth..."]: Miller, p. 54.
[ " Private injury... " ]: Kentucky Court of Appeals quoted in Horwitz, p. 75.
["a judicial invention"]: Cohen, p. 126.
["There was no history..."]: William 0. Douglas in Wheeling Steel Corporation v. Glander, 337 US 562,1949. [ "...new trends in legal..."] 1: Sklar, p. 85.
["America's representative social..."]: Drucker, p. 18.
["... an institutional expression... " ]: Ford Motor Co. executive William T Gossett, 1957, quoted in Williams, p. 343.
[ " charter-mongering" ]: Nader, et al. p. 44.
["We tried .... 11]: Jones, p. 44.
["The principal instrument. - - " ]: quoted in Blair, p. 667.

For details on judge-made law, see Alfange, Cohen, Friedman, Horwitz, Miller, Nader et at, Newmeyer (in Thelan), Pound, Sklar, Wright


Illinois Business Corporation Act, Revised Statutes, Chapter 32, par 1.01 et seq.
["...abuse or misuse of..."]: Delaware Code Ann. Title 8, 1 01, et seq.
["...contrary to the public policy..."]: New York Business Corporation Law 101 et. seq.
["...misapplied or wasted..."]: Model Business Corporation Act, quoted in Clarkson et al., Appendix G.
[ "... from time to time.. - " ]: I bid.
["...subject to the same..." ]: Illinois Revised Statutes.
["Whenever a people..."]: quoted in Byrdsall, p. 135.
["...the right of property. - - " ]: Louis D. Brandeis in Truax v. Corrigan, 257 US 312,1921.
For details on worker- controlled firms, see Adams and Hansen, Dahl


Adams, Frank T. and Hansen, Gary B., Putting Democracy to Work: A Practical Guide for Starting and Managing Worker-Owned Businesses, Eugene: Hulogosi, 1992 (2nd ed.).

Alfange, Dean. The Supreme Court and the National Will. New York: Doubleday, Doran & Co., 1937.

Baxandall, Rosalyn; Gordon, Linda; Reverby, Susan. America's Working Women: A Documentary History, 1600 to the Present. New York: Random House, 1976.

Beard, Charles A., and Mary R. The Rise of American Civilization, New York: The Macmillan Co., 1927.

Berle, Adolph A., handwritten research notes, 1929-1930. Special Collections, Columbia University Law Library.

- and Means, Gardiner C. The Modem Corporation and Private Property, New York: The Macmillan Co., 1933.

Blair, John M., Economic Concentration, Structure, Behavior and Public Policy, New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1972.

Blandi, J. G. Maryland Business Corporations: 1783 -1852., Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1934.

Blau, Joseph L., (ed.) Social Theories of Jacksonian Democracy, New York: The Liberal Arts Press, 1947.

Byrdsall, Fitzwilliam. The History of the Loco-Focos, or Equal Rights Party. New York: Burt Franklin, 1967. (Reprinted).

Cadman, John W The Corporation in New Jersey. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1949.

Clarkson, Kenneth W, et al. West's Business Law 3rd. ed., St. Paul: West Publishing, 1986,

Cohen, Morris Raphael. Law and The Social Order New York: Harcourt, Brace & Co., 1933.

Dahl, Robert A. A Preface to Economic Democracy, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985.

Dodd, Edwin Merrick. American Business Corporations Until 1860. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1934.

Drucker, Peter. The Concept of the Corporation. New York: New American Library, 1983 (rev.).

Earle, Thomas. "The Right of States to Alter and Annul Charters, considered, and the Decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States thereon Examined...... Philadelphia: Carey and Lea, 1823,

Ferry, W H. The Corporation and the Economy, Santa Barbara: Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions, 1959.

Friedman, Lawrence M. A History of American Law, New York: Simon and Schuster, 1973.

Ginsberg, Eli; Berg, Ivar E., et al. Democratic Values and the Rights of Management. New York: Columbia University Press, 1963.

Goodrich, Carter, ed., The Government and the Economy, 1783-1861. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill Co., 1967.

Handlin, Oscar and Mary F., Commonwealth: A Study of the Role of Government in the American Economy, Massachusetts, 1774-1861. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1947.

Hartz, Louis. Economic Policy and Democratic Thought, Pennsylvania, 1776-1860. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1948.

Horwitz, Morton J. The Transformation of American Law, 1780-1860. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1977.

Jones, Mary (ed. by Mary Field Parton). The Autobiography of Mother Jones. Chicago: Charles H. Kerr Publishing Co., 1976. (3rd ed. rev.).

Kazis, Richard and Grossman, Richard L. Fear at Work: Job Blackmail, Labor & The Environment. Philadelphia: New Society Publishers, 1992 (2nd ed.)

Kinoy, Arthur. Rights on Trial: The Odyssey of a People's Lawyer Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1983.

Lloyd, Henry Demarest. Wealth Against Commonwealth. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1894,

Martin, Edwin Winslow. History of the Grange Movement, or The Farmer's War Against Monopolies. Philadelphia: National Publishing Co., 1873.

Mason, Alpheus, Thomas Brandeis: Lawyer and Judge in the Modem State. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1933.

Meier, August. Negro Thought in America, 1880-1915. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1966.

Miller, Arthur Selwyn. The Supreme Court and American Capitalism. New York: The Free Press, 1968.

Nader, Ralph; Green, Mark; & Seligman, Joel. Corporate Power in America. New York: Norton, 1976.

Paine, Thomas. Common Sense. New York: Penguin Classics, 1986.

Pound, Roscoe. Interpretations of Legal History. New York: Macmillan Co., 1923.

Sklar, Martin J. The Corporate Reconstruction of American Capitalism, 1890-1916, The Market, The Law and Politics. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1988.

Smith, Page. The Shaping of America: A People's History of the Young Republic. New York: McGraw Hill, 1980.

Thelen, David. (ed.) The Constitution and American Life. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1987.

Ware, Norman. The Industrial Worker, 1840-1880: The Reaction of Industrial Society to the Advance of the Industrial Revolution. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1924.

Williams, William Appleman. The Contours of American History. Chicago: Quadrangle Books, 1961.

Wright, Benjamin F., The Growth of American Constitutional Law. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1942.

Citizenship and the Charter of Incorporation
Copyright 1993, Published by Charter, Ink.

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