15:42 09/01/2017

During these eras [medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque] corporations took a wide variety of forms. Abbeys, monasteries and dioceses were ecclesiastical corporations; boroughs and cities were municipal corporations, and a wide variety of other corporations existed including merchant and trade guilds, universities, and hospitals. Royal law did not make a strong distinction between these different kinds of corporations as our law makes today between, for example, commercial corporations and municipal corporations. They were all “corporations and bodies politick” whose charters used the same basic form and language and which often were granted various degrees of judicial and police powers as property rights appurtenant to or held by the corporation.
The idea that a majority can “consent” for other members their class also comes from medieval corporate law (it certainly does not come from contract or tort law). “Constitution” was often used as a synonym for “charter.” The United States Constitution can be profitably viewed as a corporate charter, ratified by a majority of delegates to conventions in each State but shorn of royal imprimatur. “The Queen…grants…” became “We the people of the United States…do ordain and establish.” “We the People” granted rights to ourselves, in some vague collective way. This makes no sense in legal terms outside the context of corporate charters.



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