During the colonial era Companies Possessed Rights either of Actual or Virtual Sovereignty
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“the act of legislature that creates a corporation and sets forth its franchise that defines the organisation of a corporation.”
In Sanchez the U.S. Supreme Court stated in its opinion the following “
“Even were I to accept the Court’s premise that whether Territories are “persons” for purposes of 1983 must be analyzed in light of the 1874 recodification of the Dictionary Act, I would reach the same conclusion. Although the recodification eliminated the reference to “body politic,” this change did not exclude Territories from the scope of 1983 because the recodification also provided that “the word `person’ may extend and be applied to partnerships and corporations,” id., at 19 (emphasis added).
At the time of the revision, the term “corporation” generally was thought to include political entities such as a Territory. See Cong. Globe, 39th Cong., 2d Sess., 451 (1867)(remarks of Rep. Bingham) (referring to the Territory of Nebraska as “a corporation“).
“The word `corporations,’ in its largest sense, has a more extensive meaning than people generally are aware of. Any body politic (sole or aggregate) whether its power be restricted or transcendant is in this sense `a corporation.'”Chisholm v. Georgia, 2 Dall. 419, 447 (1793) (Iredell, J.). 8 A Territory thus would [495 U.S. 182, 202] qualify as a “person” even under the 1874 recodification of the Dictionary Act.”
“(c) The statute’s successive enactments, in context, further reveal the lack of any congressional intent to include Territories as persons. In the 1871 version, persons could not possibly have included Territories, because Territories are not States within the meaning of the Fourteenth [495 U.S. 182, 183] Amendment and could not have been persons acting under color of state law. Cf. Will v. Michigan Dept. of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 64 .
This reading is supported by 1983’s next enactment in 1874, when Congress first added the phrase “or Territory,” thus making it possible for a person acting under color of territorial law to be held liable. At the same time, however, Congress pointedly redefined the word “person” in the “Dictionary Act” – which supplied rules of construction for all legislation – to exclude Territories. Pp. 189-192.” Click here to review NGIRAINGAS v. SANCHEZ.
The U.S. Supreme Court footnoted the following to support it’s above opinon:
[ Footnote 8 ] At common law, a “corporation” was an “artificial perso[n] endowed with the legal capacity of perpetual succession” consisting either of a single individual (termed a “corporation sole”) or of a collection of several individuals (a “corporation aggregate”). 3 H. Stephen, Commentaries on the Laws of England 166, 168 (1st Am. ed. 1845).
“The sovereign was considered a corporation.” See id., at 170; see also 1 W. Blackstone, Commentaries *467. Under the definitions supplied by contemporary law dictionaries, Territories would have been classified as “corporations” (and hence as “persons”) at the time that 1983 was enacted and the Dictionary Act recodified. See W. Anderson, A Dictionary of Law 261 (1893)
(“All corporations were originally modeled upon a state or nation”); 1 J. Bouvier, A Law Dictionary Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States of America 318-319 (11th ed. 1866)
(“In this extensive sense the United States may be termed a corporation“);Van Brocklin v. Tennessee, 117 U.S. 151, 154 (1886)
(“`The United States is a . . . great corporation . . . ordained and established by the American people'”) (quoting United [495 U.S. 182, 202] States v. Maurice, 26 F. Cas. 1211, 1216 (No. 15,747) (CC Va. 1823) (Marshall, C. J.));
See generally Trustees of Dartmouth College v. Woodward, 4 Wheat. 518, 561-562 (1819) (explaining history of term “corporation“).
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