Unequal Protection, Part I: Corporations Take Over
Thom Hartmann, Berrett-Kohler Publishers | Serialized Book
The first thing to understand is the difference between the natural person and the fictitious person called a corporation. They differ in the purpose for which they are created, in the strength which they possess, and in the restraints under which they act.
Man is the handiwork of God and was placed upon earth to carry out a Divine purpose; the corporation is the handiwork of man and created to carry out a money-making policy.
There is comparatively little difference in the strength of men; a corporation may be one hundred, one thousand, or even one million times stronger than the average man. Man acts under the restraints of conscience, and is influenced also by a belief in a future life. A corporation has no soul and cares nothing about the hereafter....
—William Jennings Bryan, in his address to the
Ohio 1912 Constitutional Convention
This chapter is part of an exclusive Truthout series from Thom Hartmann, America's No. 1 progressive radio host and bestselling author of 21 books. We are publishing weekly installments of the bestseller, "Unequal Protection: How Corporations Became 'People' - and How You Can Fight Back." Please join us as Hartmann explores the evolution of corporate personhood, gaining insight into the nature of democracy. To read more chapters, click here.
Part of the American Revolution was about to be lost a century after it had been fought. At the time probably very few of the people involved realized that what they were about to witness could be a counterrevolution that would change life in the United States and, ultimately, the world over the course of the following century.
In 1886 the Supreme Court met in the U.S. Capitol building, in what is now called the Old Senate Chamber. It was May, and while the northeastern states were slowly recovering from the most devastating ice storm of the century just three months earlier, Washington, D.C., was warm and in bloom.
In the Supreme Court's chamber, a gilt eagle stretched its 6-foot wingspan over the head of Chief Justice Morrison Remick Waite as he glared down at the attorneys for the Southern Pacific Railroad and the county of Santa Clara, California. Waite was about to pronounce judgment in a case that had been argued over a year earlier, at the end of January 1885.
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March 15, 2011