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Philanthropy in Democratic SocietiesHistory, Institutions, Values$
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Rob Reich, Chiara Cordelli, and Lucy Bernholz

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226335506

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226335780.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 16 April 2021

Altruism and the Origins of Nonprofit Philanthropy

Altruism and the Origins of Nonprofit Philanthropy

(p.19) One Altruism and the Origins of Nonprofit Philanthropy
Philanthropy in Democratic Societies

Jonathan Levy

University of Chicago Press

This chapter examines the historical relationship between philanthropy and corporate power, tracing the origins of the nonprofit corporation, the dominant institutional home of American philanthropy. It illustrates the transformation, after the American Civil War, of the post-Revolutionary, mixed public/private republican corporation into two private, liberal corporations—the for profit corporation and the nonprofit corporation. Critical to this new Gilded Age corporate binary, the chapter argues, was another binary, the new moral vocabulary of “egoism” and “altruism.” The chapter explores the consequences of making corporate philanthropy private for the status of public authority and public values.

Keywords:   nonprofit, corporation, altruism, capitalism, republicanism, liberalism, wealth

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