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When Shareholders Were Members: The Business Corporation as Voluntary Association

When Shareholders Were Members: The Business Corporation as Voluntary Association

Chapter:
(p.119) Five When Shareholders Were Members: The Business Corporation as Voluntary Association
Source:
The Making of Tocqueville'S America
Author(s):
Kevin Butterfield
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226297118.003.0006

Tensions between individual members’ rights and the will of the majority were common and were fraught with tension, for the challenge was to create effective associations that accorded with post-Revolutionary ideas of fairness, accountability, and rule by consent. This chapter will look at organizations that in a very real sense were almost entirely focused on money, exploring some of the ways that controversies over the meanings of membership in mutual fire insurance cooperatives and stock-issuing business corporations echoed challenges faced elsewhere in America’s now-burgeoning civil society. This chapter will look at how the rights and expectations of corporate shareholders evolved between 1800 and 1840.

Keywords:   corporate law, shareholders, Joseph K. Angell, Mutual Assurance Society, mutual insurance, Thomas Jefferson, William Ast, Currie’s Administrators, Mutual Assurance Society

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