We the Corporations: How American Businesses Won Their Civil Rights

We the Corporations: How American Businesses Won Their Civil Rights

by Adam Winkler

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National Book Award for Nonfiction Finalist

National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction Finalist

A New York Times Notable Book of the Year

A Washington Post Notable Book of the Year

A PBS “Now Read This” Book Club Selection

Named one of the Best Books of the Year by the Economist and the Boston Globe

A landmark exposé and “deeply engaging legal history” of one of the most successful, yet least known, civil rights movements in American history (Washington Post).

In a revelatory work praised as “excellent and timely” (New York Times Book Review, front page), Adam Winkler, author of Gunfight, once again makes sense of our fraught constitutional history in this incisive portrait of how American businesses seized political power, won “equal rights,” and transformed the Constitution to serve big business.

Uncovering the deep roots of Citizens United, he repositions that controversial 2010 Supreme Court decision as the capstone of a centuries-old battle for corporate personhood. “Tackling a topic that ought to be at the heart of political debate” (Economist), Winkler surveys more than four hundred years of diverse cases—and the contributions of such legendary legal figures as Daniel Webster, Roger Taney, Lewis Powell, and even Thurgood Marshall—to reveal that “the history of corporate rights is replete with ironies” (Wall Street Journal). We the Corporations is an uncompromising work of history to be read for years to come.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780871407122
Publisher: Liveright Publishing Corporation
Publication date: 02/27/2018
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 496
Sales rank: 205,756
Product dimensions: 6.50(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.80(d)

About the Author

Adam Winkler is a professor at UCLA School of Law, where he specializes in American constitutional law. His scholarship has been cited by the Supreme Court of the United States and his writing has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, New Republic, Atlantic, Slate, and Scotusblog.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Are Corporations People? xiii

Part 1 Corporate Origins

Chapter 1 In the Beginning, America Was a Corporation 3

Part 2 The Birth Of Corporate Rights

Chapter 2 The First Corporate Rights Case 35

Chapter 3 The Corporation's Lawyer 71

Part 3 Property Rights, Not Liberty Rights

Chapter 4 The Conspiracy for Corporate Rights 113

Chapter 5 The Corporate Criminal 161

Chapter 6 Property, Not Politics 191

Part 4 The Rise Of Liberty Rights For Corporations

Chapter 7 Discrete and Insular Corporations 231

Chapter 8 Corporations, Race, and Civil Rights 256

Chapter 9 The Corporation's Justice 279

Chapter 10 The Triumph of Corporate Rights 324

Conclusion Corporate Rights and Wrongs 377

Acknowledgments 397

Chronology of Corporate Rights 399

Notes 405

Credits 445

Index 449

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We the Corporations: How American Businesses Won Their Civil Rights 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous 3 months ago
"We the Corporations" tells the 400-year story of how American corporations came to acquire constitutional rights, such as the right to sue in federal court and the right to spend money on political speech. The writing is clear and colorful, yet does full justice to the technicalities of legal doctrine. Legal cases are put in social and political context. It may be the best book of legal history I have ever read. Every "originalist" should read it to see how judges (whether liberal or conservative) grapple with questions that can't be answered by references to constitutional history or text: basically, judges cherrypick precedents and manipulate legal texts in order to promote their own personal views of sound policy. That lesson in reality makes the book essential reading, one to keep and reread and enjoy. Six stars.