| HBS Case Collection
Technical Note: An Abridged History of the American Corporation
This note examines the development of the corporate form in the United States from the eighteenth century to the present, focusing primarily on legal issues. It identifies several major trends in the history of the American corporation: the transition of corporations from public institutions created by special acts of state legislatures to private enterprises created under general incorporation statutes; the emergence of managerial (as opposed to shareholder) control in the modern business corporation; and the movement toward a more relaxed regulatory climate in the twentieth century. It also addresses other topics such as the competition among states for corporate chartering business and the resulting dominance of Delaware in corporate law, shifting notions of corporate personhood, and efforts in the early twenty-first century to increase management accountability and corporate responsibility.
Governing Rules, Regulations, and Reforms;
Corporate Social Responsibility and Impact;