Lewis Ginter’s innovation has mistakenly been attributed to James B. Duke, who eventually gained control of the American Tobacco Company. This chapter tells a new story of the rise of the cigarette corporation that breaks free from the undue influence of the theories of Joseph Schumpeter. Duke’s triumph was due not to disruptive innovation with the new technology, the cigarette machine, as is commonly believed, but to his ability to align his personal fate to a remarkable legal, financial and social empowerment of the corporation. Chapter two focuses on the rise of the American Tobacco Company and the legal battles against the ATC’s radical business methods to argue that the corporation took on enhanced powers related to corporate personhood. The ATC benefitted from the new powers granted corporations by New Jersey’s lax incorporation laws, the Fourteenth Amendment, and the stock market. The Duke-controlled ATC soon formed the British American Tobacco Company, a multinational company dedicated to overseas trade, and set its imperial sites on China. As the US waged the War of 1898, the empowered corporation played a new role in imperialism, masked by its private status.
Keywords: James B. Duke, Lewis Ginter, Joseph Schumpeter, destructive innovation, British American Tobacco Company, American Tobacco Company, corporation, corporate personhood, Fourteenth Amendment, imperialism
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