First Amendment to the United States Constitution
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution prevents the government from making laws which respect an establishment of religion, prohibit the free exercise of religion, or abridge the freedom of speech, the freedom of the press, the right to peaceably assemble, or the right to petition the government for redress of grievances. It was adopted on December 15, 1791, as one of the ten amendments that constitute the Bill of Rights; the Bill of Rights was proposed to assuage Anti-Federalist opposition to Constitutional ratification. The First Amendment applied only to laws enacted by the Congress, many of its provisions were interpreted more narrowly than they are today. Beginning with Gitlow v. New York, the Supreme Court applied the First Amendment to states—a process known as incorporation—through the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. In Everson v. Board of Education, the Court drew on Thomas Jefferson's correspondence to call for "a wall of separation between church and State", though the precise boundary of this separation remains in dispute.
Speech rights were expanded in a series of 20th and 21st-century court decisions which protected various forms of political speech, anonymous speech, campaign financing and school speech. The Supreme Court overturned English common law precedent to increase the burden of proof for defamation and libel suits, most notably in New York Times Co. v. Sullivan. Commercial speech, however, is less protected by the First Amendment than political speech, is therefore subject to greater regulation; the Free Press Clause protects publication of information and opinions, applies to a wide variety of media. In Near v. Minnesota and New York Times v. United States, the Supreme Court ruled that the First Amendment protected against prior restraint—pre-publication censorship—in all cases; the Petition Clause protects the right to petition all branches and agencies of government for action. In addition to the right of assembly guaranteed by this clause, the Court has ruled that the amendment implicitly protects freedom of association.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. In 1776, the second year of the American Revolutionary War, the Virginia colonial legislature passed a Declaration of Rights that included the sentence "The freedom of the press is one of the greatest bulwarks of liberty, can never be restrained but by despotic Governments." Eight of the other twelve states made similar pledges. However, these declarations were considered "mere admonitions to state legislatures", rather than enforceable provisions. After several years of comparatively weak government under the Articles of Confederation, a Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia proposed a new constitution on September 17, 1787, featuring among other changes a stronger chief executive. George Mason, a Constitutional Convention delegate and the drafter of Virginia's Declaration of Rights, proposed that the Constitution include a bill of rights listing and guaranteeing civil liberties.
Other delegates—including future Bill of Rights drafter James Madison—disagreed, arguing that existing state guarantees of civil liberties were sufficient and that any attempt to enumerate individual rights risked the implication that other, unnamed rights were unprotected. After a brief debate, Mason's proposal was defeated by a unanimous vote of the state delegations. For the constitution to be ratified, nine of the thirteen states were required to approve it in state conventions. Opposition to ratification was based on the Constitution's lack of adequate guarantees for civil liberties. Supporters of the Constitution in states where popular sentiment was against ratification proposed that their state conventions both ratify the Constitution and call for the addition of a bill of rights; the U. S. Constitution was ratified by all thirteen states. In the 1st United States Congress, following the state legislatures' request, James Madison proposed twenty constitutional amendments, his proposed draft of the First Amendment read as follows: The civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship, nor shall any national religion be established, nor shall the full and equal rights of conscience be in any manner, or on any pretext, infringed.
The people shall not be deprived or abridged of their right to speak, to write, or to publish their sentiments. The people shall not be restrained from peaceably consulting for their common good; this language was condensed by Congress, passed the House and Senate with no recorded debate, complicating future discussion of the Amendment's intent. The First Amendment, along with the rest of the Bill of Rights, was submitted to the states for ratification on September 25, 1789, adopted on December 15, 1791. Thomas Jefferson wrote with respect to the First Amendment and its restriction on the legislative branch of the federal government in an 1802 letter to the Danbury Baptists: Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies between Ma
Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the federal judiciary of the United States. Established pursuant to Article III of the U. S. Constitution in 1789, it has original jurisdiction over a narrow range of cases, including suits between two or more states and those involving ambassadors, it has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all federal court and state court cases that involve a point of federal constitutional or statutory law. The Court has the power of judicial review, the ability to invalidate a statute for violating a provision of the Constitution or an executive act for being unlawful. However, it may act only within the context of a case in an area of law over which it has jurisdiction; the court may decide cases having political overtones, but it has ruled that it does not have power to decide nonjusticiable political questions. Each year it agrees to hear about one hundred to one hundred fifty of the more than seven thousand cases that it is asked to review.
According to federal statute, the court consists of the Chief Justice of the United States and eight associate justices, all of whom are nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate. Once appointed, justices have lifetime tenure unless they resign, retire, or are removed from office; each justice has a single vote in deciding. When the chief justice is in the majority, he decides. In modern discourse, justices are categorized as having conservative, moderate, or liberal philosophies of law and of judicial interpretation. While a far greater number of cases in recent history have been decided unanimously, decisions in cases of the highest profile have come down to just one single vote, exemplifying the justices' alignment according to these categories; the Court meets in the Supreme Court Building in Washington, D. C, its law enforcement arm is the Supreme Court of the United States Police. It was while debating the division of powers between the legislative and executive departments that delegates to the 1787 Constitutional Convention established the parameters for the national judiciary.
Creating a "third branch" of government was a novel idea. Early on, some delegates argued that national laws could be enforced by state courts, while others, including James Madison, advocated for a national judicial authority consisting of various tribunals chosen by the national legislature, it was proposed that the judiciary should have a role in checking the executive power to veto or revise laws. In the end, the Framers compromised by sketching only a general outline of the judiciary, vesting federal judicial power in "one supreme Court, in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish", they delineated neither the exact powers and prerogatives of the Supreme Court nor the organization of the Template:Judicial branch as a whole. The 1st United States Congress provided the detailed organization of a federal judiciary through the Judiciary Act of 1789; the Supreme Court, the country's highest judicial tribunal, was to sit in the nation's Capital and would be composed of a chief justice and five associate justices.
The act divided the country into judicial districts, which were in turn organized into circuits. Justices were required to "ride circuit" and hold circuit court twice a year in their assigned judicial district. After signing the act into law, President George Washington nominated the following people to serve on the court: John Jay for chief justice and John Rutledge, William Cushing, Robert H. Harrison, James Wilson, John Blair Jr. as associate justices. All six were confirmed by the Senate on September 26, 1789. Harrison, declined to serve. In his place, Washington nominated James Iredell; the Supreme Court held its inaugural session from February 2 through February 10, 1790, at the Royal Exchange in New York City the U. S. capital. A second session was held there in August 1790; the earliest sessions of the court were devoted to organizational proceedings, as the first cases did not reach it until 1791. When the national capital moved to Philadelphia in 1790, the Supreme Court did so as well.
After meeting at Independence Hall, the Court established its chambers at City Hall. Under Chief Justices Jay and Ellsworth, the Court heard few cases; as the Court had only six members, every decision that it made by a majority was made by two-thirds. However, Congress has always allowed less than the court's full membership to make decisions, starting with a quorum of four justices in 1789; the court lacked a home of its own and had little prestige, a situation not helped by the era's highest-profile case, Chisholm v. Georgia, reversed within two years by the adoption of the Eleventh Amendment; the court's power and prestige grew during the Marshall Court. Under Marshall, the court established the power of judicial review over acts of Congress, including specifying itself as the supreme expositor of the Constitution and making several important constitutional rulings that gave shape and substance to the balance of power between the federal government and states; the Marshall Court ended the practice of each justice issuin
Fifteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Fifteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits the federal government and each state from denying a citizen the right to vote based on that citizen's "race, color, or previous condition of servitude". It was ratified on February 1870, as the third and last of the Reconstruction Amendments. In the final years of the American Civil War and the Reconstruction Era that followed, Congress debated the rights of the millions of former black slaves. By 1869, amendments had been passed to abolish slavery and provide citizenship and equal protection under the laws, but the election of Ulysses S. Grant to the presidency in 1868 convinced a majority of Republicans that protecting the franchise of black male voters was important for the party's future. On February 26, 1869, after rejecting more sweeping versions of a suffrage amendment, Congress proposed a compromise amendment banning franchise restrictions on the basis of race, color, or previous servitude. After surviving a difficult ratification fight, the amendment was certified as duly ratified and part of the Constitution on March 30, 1870.
United States Supreme Court decisions in the late nineteenth century interpreted the amendment narrowly. From 1890 to 1910, southern states adopted new state constitutions and enacted laws that raised barriers to voter registration; this resulted in most black voters and many poor white ones being disenfranchised by poll taxes and discriminatory literacy tests, among other barriers to voting, from which white male voters were exempted by grandfather clauses. A system of white primaries and violent intimidation by white groups suppressed black participation. In the twentieth century, the Court began to interpret the amendment more broadly, striking down grandfather clauses in Guinn v. United States and dismantling the white primary system in the "Texas primary cases". Along with measures such as the Twenty-fourth Amendment, which forbade poll taxes in federal elections, Harper v. Virginia State Board of Elections, which forbade poll taxes in state elections, these decisions increased black participation in the American political system.
To enforce the amendment, Congress enacted the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which provided federal oversight of elections in discriminatory jurisdictions, banned literacy tests and similar discriminatory devices, created legal remedies for people affected by voting discrimination. The amendment created a split within the women's suffrage movement over the amendment not prohibiting denying the women the right to vote on account of sex. Section 1; the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude. Section 2; the Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation. In the final years of the American Civil War and the Reconstruction Era that followed, Congress debated the rights of black former slaves freed by the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation and the 1865 Thirteenth Amendment, the latter of which had formally abolished slavery. Following the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment by Congress, Republicans grew concerned over the increase it would create in the congressional representation of the Democratic-dominated Southern states.
Because the full population of freed slaves would be now counted rather than the three-fifths mandated by the previous Three-Fifths Compromise, the Southern states would increase their power in the population-based House of Representatives. Republicans hoped to offset this advantage by attracting and protecting votes of the newly enfranchised black population. In 1865, Congress passed what would become the Civil Rights Act of 1866, guaranteeing citizenship without regard to race, color, or previous condition of slavery or involuntary servitude; the bill guaranteed equal benefits and access to the law, a direct assault on the Black Codes passed by many post-war Southern states. The Black Codes attempted to return ex-slaves to something like their former condition by, among other things, restricting their movement, forcing them to enter into year-long labor contracts, prohibiting them from owning firearms, by preventing them from suing or testifying in court. Although urged by moderates in Congress to sign the bill, President Johnson vetoed it on March 27, 1866.
In his veto message, he objected to the measure because it conferred citizenship on the freedmen at a time when 11 out of 36 states were unrepresented in the Congress, that it discriminated in favor of African Americans and against whites. Three weeks Johnson's veto was overridden and the measure became law; this was the first time in American history that Congress was able to muster the votes necessary to override a presidential veto. Despite this victory some Republicans who had supported the goals of the Civil Rights Act began to doubt that Congress possessed the constitutional power to turn those goals into laws; the experience encouraged both radical and moderate Republicans to seek Constitutional guarantees for black rights, rather than relying on temporary political majorities. On June 18, 1866, Congress adopted the Fourteenth Amendment, which guaranteed citizenship and equal protection under the laws regardless of race, sent it to the states for ratification. After a bitter struggle that included attempted rescissions of ratification by two states, the Fourteenth Amendment was adopted on July 28, 1868.
Section 2 of the Fourteenth Amendment punished, by reduced representation in the House of Representatives, any state that disenfranchised any male citizens over 21 years of age. By failing to adopt a harsher penalty, this signaled to the states that they still posse
Obergefell v. Hodges
Obergefell v. Hodges, 576 U. S. ___, is a landmark civil rights case in which the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the fundamental right to marry is guaranteed to same-sex couples by both the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The 5–4 ruling requires all fifty states, the District of Columbia, the Insular Areas to perform and recognize the marriages of same-sex couples on the same terms and conditions as the marriages of opposite-sex couples, with all the accompanying rights and responsibilities. Between January 2012 and February 2014, plaintiffs in Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee filed federal district court cases that culminated in Obergefell v. Hodges. After all district courts ruled for the plaintiffs, the rulings were appealed to the Sixth Circuit. In November 2014, following a lengthy series of appeals court rulings that year from the Fourth, Seventh and Tenth Circuits that state-level bans on same-sex marriage were unconstitutional, the Sixth Circuit ruled that it was bound by Baker v. Nelson and found such bans to be constitutional.
This created a split between circuits and led to an inevitable Supreme Court review. Decided on June 26, 2015, Obergefell overturned Baker and requires all states to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples and to recognize same-sex marriages validly performed in other jurisdictions; this established same-sex marriage throughout its territories. In a majority opinion authored by Justice Anthony Kennedy, the Court examined the nature of fundamental rights guaranteed to all by the Constitution, the harm done to individuals by delaying the implementation of such rights while the democratic process plays out, the evolving understanding of discrimination and inequality that has developed since Baker. Prior to Obergefell, same-sex marriage had been established by law, court ruling, or voter initiative in thirty-six states, the District of Columbia, Guam; the U. S. Supreme Court case of Obergefell v. Hodges is not the culmination of one lawsuit, it is the consolidation of six lower-court cases representing sixteen same-sex couples, seven of their children, a widower, an adoption agency, a funeral director.
Those cases came from Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee. All six federal district court rulings found for other claimants. One case came from Michigan, involving their three children. April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse held a commitment ceremony in February 2007, they were foster parents. A son was born on January 25, 2009, adopted by Rowse in November. A daughter was born on February 1, 2010, adopted by DeBoer in April 2011. A second son was born on November 9, 2009, adopted by Rowse in October 2011. Michigan law allowed adoption only by married couples. On January 23, 2012, DeBoer and Rowse filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, DeBoer v. Snyder, alleging Michigan's adoption law was unconstitutional. Richard Snyder, the lead defendant, was governor of Michigan. During a hearing on August 29, 2012, Judge Bernard A. Friedman expressed reservations regarding plaintiffs' cause of action, suggesting they amend their complaint to challenge the state's ban on same-sex marriage.
The plaintiffs amended their complaint accordingly on September 7. During a hearing on March 7, 2013, Judge Friedman decided he would delay the case until the U. S. Supreme Court ruled in Hollingsworth v. Perry, hoping for guidance. On October 16, Friedman set trial for February 25, 2014; the trial ended March 7. On March 21, Judge Friedman ruled for the plaintiffs, concluding that, "without some overriding legitimate interest, the state cannot use its domestic relations authority to legislate families out of existence. Having failed to establish such an interest in the context of same-sex marriage, the cannot stand." Two cases came from Ohio, the first involving a male couple: a widower, a funeral director. In June 2013, following the U. S. Supreme Court's decision in United States v. Windsor, James "Jim" Obergefell and John Arthur decided to get married to obtain legal recognition of their relationship, they married in Maryland on July 11. After learning that their state of residence, would not recognize their marriage, they filed a lawsuit, Obergefell v. Kasich, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio on July 19, 2013, alleging that the state discriminates against same-sex couples who have married lawfully out-of-state.
The lead defendant was Ohio Governor John Kasich. Because one partner, John Arthur, was terminally ill and suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, they wanted the Ohio Registrar to identify the other partner, James Obergefell, as his surviving spouse on his death certificate, based on their marriage in Maryland; the local Ohio Registrar agreed that discriminating against the same-sex married couple was unconstitutional, but the state attorney general's office announced plans to defend Ohio's same-sex marriage ban. As the case progressed, on July 22, District Judge Timothy S. Black granted the couple's motion, temporarily restraining the Ohio Registrar from accepting any death certificate unless it recorded the deceased's status at death as "married" and his partner as "surviving spouse". Black wrote that "hroughout Ohio's history, Ohio law has been clear: a marriage solemnized outside of Ohio is valid in Ohio if it is valid where solemnized", noted that certain marriages between cousins or minors, while unlawful if performe
Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits the states and the federal government from denying the right to vote to citizens of the United States on the basis of sex. The amendment was adopted on August 18, 1920 as the culmination of the women's suffrage movement in the United States, which fought at both state and national levels to achieve the vote, it overruled Minor v. Happersett, in which a unanimous Supreme Court ruled that the Fourteenth Amendment did not give women the right to vote. Since the 1860s, an increasing number of states had given women the right to vote, but several states still denied women the right to vote at the time the amendment was ratified; the Nineteenth Amendment was introduced in Congress in 1878 by Senator Aaron A. Sargent. Forty-one years in 1919, Congress submitted it to the states for ratification, it was ratified by three-fourths of the states a year with Tennessee's ratification being the last needed to add the amendment to the Constitution.
In Leser v. Garnett, the Supreme Court rejected claims that the amendment was unconstitutionally adopted; the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation; the United States Constitution, adopted in 1789, left the boundaries of suffrage undefined. The only directly elected body created by the original Constitution was the House of Representatives, for which voter qualifications were explicitly delegated to the individual states. At that time, all states denied voting rights to women. While scattered movements and organizations dedicated to women's rights existed the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention in New York is traditionally held as the start of the American women's rights movement. Suffrage was not a focus of the convention and its advancement was minimal in the decades preceding the Civil War. While suffrage bills were introduced into most state legislatures during this period, they were disregarded and few came to a vote.
The women's suffrage movement took hold during the Reconstruction era. During this period, women's rights leaders advocated for inclusion of universal suffrage as a civil right in the Reconstruction Amendments. Despite their efforts, these amendments did nothing to promote women's suffrage. Section 2 of the Fourteenth Amendment explicitly discriminated between men and women by penalizing states who deprived adult male citizens of the vote, but not for denying the vote to adult female citizens. In Minor v. Happersett, 88 U. S. 162, the U. S. Supreme Court ruled that the Privileges or Immunities Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment did not provide or protect a right to vote to women. Continued settlement of the western frontier, along with the establishment of territorial constitutions, allowed the issue to be raised continually at the state level. Through the activism of suffrage organizations and independent political parties, women's suffrage was established in the newly formed constitutions of Wyoming Territory and Washington Territory.
Existing state legislatures began to consider suffrage bills, several held voter referenda, but they were unsuccessful. Efforts at the national level persisted through a strategy of congressional testimony and lobbying. There were several attempts to amend the Constitution, prior to the adoption of the Nineteenth Amendment, to grant universal and limited suffrage to women. One of the attempts, the "Petition for Universal Suffrage", signed by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, among others, called for a Constitutional amendment to "prohibit the several states from disenfranchising any of their citizens on the ground of sex" in 1865. In another attempt, an amendment proposed in the House of Representatives called for limited suffrage for women who were spinsters or widows and owned property in 1888. Two rival organizations, the National Woman Suffrage Association and the American Woman Suffrage Association, were formed in 1869; the NWSA, led by suffrage leaders Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B.
Anthony, attempted several unsuccessful court challenges in the mid-1870s. Their legal case, known as the New Departure strategy, was that the Fourteenth Amendment and Fifteenth Amendment together served to guarantee voting rights to women. Three Supreme Court decisions from 1873 to 1875 rejected this argument, so these groups shifted to advocating for a new constitutional amendment; the Nineteenth Amendment is identical to the Fifteenth Amendment, except that the Nineteenth prohibits the denial of suffrage because of sex and the Fifteenth because of "race, color, or previous condition of servitude". Colloquially known as the "Anthony Amendment", it was first introduced in the Senate by Republican Senator Aaron A. Sargent of California. Sargent, who had met and befriended Anthony on a train ride in 1872, was a dedicated women's suffrage advocate, he had attempted to insert women's suffrage provisions into unrelated bills, but did not formally introduce a constitutional amendment until January 1878.
Stanton and other women testified before the Senate in support of the amendment. The proposal sat in a committee until it was considered by the full Senate and rejected in a 16 to 34 vote in 1887. A three-decade period known as "the doldrums" followed, during which the amendment was not considered by Congress and the women's suffrage movement achieved f
Natural and legal rights
Natural and legal rights are two types of rights. Natural rights are those that are not dependent on the laws or customs of any particular culture or government, so are universal and inalienable Legal rights are those bestowed onto a person by a given legal system; the concept of natural law is related to the concept of natural rights. Natural law first appeared in ancient Greek philosophy, was referred to by Roman philosopher Cicero, it was subsequently alluded to in the Bible, developed in the Middle Ages by Catholic philosophers such as Albert the Great and his pupil Thomas Aquinas. During the Age of Enlightenment, the concept of natural laws was used to challenge the divine right of kings, became an alternative justification for the establishment of a social contract, positive law, government – and thus legal rights – in the form of classical republicanism. Conversely, the concept of natural rights is used by others to challenge the legitimacy of all such establishments; the idea of human rights is closely related to that of natural rights: some acknowledge no difference between the two, regarding them as synonymous, while others choose to keep the terms separate to eliminate association with some features traditionally associated with natural rights.
Natural rights, in particular, are considered beyond the authority of any government or international body to dismiss. The 1948 United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights is an important legal instrument enshrining one conception of natural rights into international soft law. Natural rights were traditionally viewed as negative rights, whereas human rights comprise positive rights. On a natural rights conception of human rights, the two terms may not be synonymous; the proposition that animals have natural rights is one that gained the interest of philosophers and legal scholars in the 20th century and into the 21st. The idea that certain rights are natural or inalienable has a history dating back at least to the Stoics of late Antiquity and Catholic law of the early Middle Ages, descending through the Protestant Reformation and the Age of Enlightenment to today; the existence of natural rights has been asserted by different individuals on different premises, such as a priori philosophical reasoning or religious principles.
For example, Immanuel Kant claimed to derive natural rights through reason alone. The United States Declaration of Independence, meanwhile, is based upon the "self-evident" truth that "all men are … endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights". Different philosophers and statesmen have designed different lists of what they believe to be natural rights. H. L. A. Hart argued that if there are any rights at all, there must be the right to liberty, for all the others would depend upon this. T. H. Green argued that “if there are such things as rights at all there must be a right to life and liberty, or, to put it more properly to free life.” John Locke emphasized "life and property" as primary. However, despite Locke's influential defense of the right of revolution, Thomas Jefferson substituted "pursuit of happiness" in place of "property" in the United States Declaration of Independence. Stephen Kinzer, a veteran journalist for The New York Times and the author of the book All The Shah's Men, writes in the latter that: The Zoroastrian religion taught Iranians that citizens have an inalienable right to enlightened leadership and that the duty of subjects is not to obey wise kings but to rise up against those who are wicked.
Leaders are seen as representative of God on earth, but they deserve allegiance only as long as they have farr, a kind of divine blessing that they must earn by moral behavior. The Stoics held. Seneca the Younger wrote: It is a mistake to imagine that slavery pervades a man's whole being. Of fundamental importance to the development of the idea of natural rights was the emergence of the idea of natural human equality; as the historian A. J. Carlyle notes: "There is no change in political theory so startling in its completeness as the change from the theory of Aristotle to the philosophical view represented by Cicero and Seneca.... We think that this cannot be better exemplified than with regard to the theory of the equality of human nature." Charles H. McIlwain observes that "the idea of the equality of men is the profoundest contribution of the Stoics to political thought" and that "its greatest influence is in the changed conception of law that in part resulted from it." Cicero argues in De Legibus that "we are born for Justice, that right is based, not upon opinions, but upon Nature."
One of the first Western thinkers to develop the contemporary idea of natural rights was French theologian Jean Gerson, whose 1402 treatise De Vita Spirituali Animae is considered one of the first attempts to develop what would come to be called modern natural rights theory. Centuries the Stoic doctrine that the "inner part cannot be delivered into bondage" re-emerged in the Reformation doctrine of liberty of conscience. Martin Luther wrote: Furthermore, every man is responsible for his own faith, he must see it for hi
A corporation is an organization a group of people or a company, authorized to act as a single entity and recognized as such in law. Early incorporated entities were established by charter. Most jurisdictions now allow the creation of new corporations through registration. Corporations come in many different types but are divided by the law of the jurisdiction where they are chartered into two kinds: by whether they can issue stock or not, or by whether they are formed to make a profit or not. Corporations can be divided by the number of owners: corporation corporation sole; the subject of this article is a corporation aggregate. A corporation sole is a legal entity consisting of a single incorporated office, occupied by a single natural person. Where local law distinguishes corporations by the ability to issue stock, corporations allowed to do so are referred to as "stock corporations", ownership of the corporation is through stock, owners of stock are referred to as "stockholders" or "shareholders".
Corporations not allowed to issue stock are referred to as "non-stock" corporations. Corporations chartered in regions where they are distinguished by whether they are allowed to be for profit or not are referred to as "for profit" and "not-for-profit" corporations, respectively. There is some overlap between stock/non-stock and for-profit/not-for-profit in that not-for-profit corporations are always non-stock as well. A for-profit corporation is always a stock corporation, but some for-profit corporations may choose to be non-stock. To simplify the explanation, whenever "Stockholder" or "shareholder" is used in the rest of this article to refer to a stock corporation, it is presumed to mean the same as "member" for a non-profit corporation or for a profit, non-stock corporation. Registered corporations have legal personality and their shares are owned by shareholders whose liability is limited to their investment. Shareholders do not actively manage a corporation. In most circumstances, a shareholder may serve as a director or officer of a corporation.
In American English, the word corporation is most used to describe large business corporations. In British English and in the Commonwealth countries, the term company is more used to describe the same sort of entity while the word corporation encompasses all incorporated entities. In American English, the word company can include entities such as partnerships that would not be referred to as companies in British English as they are not a separate legal entity. Late in the 19th century, a new form of company having the limited liability protections of a corporation, the more favorable tax treatment of either a sole proprietorship or partnership was developed. While not a corporation, this new type of entity became attractive as an alternative for corporations not needing to issue stock. In Germany, the organization was referred to as Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung or GmbH. In the last quarter of the 20th Century this new form of non-corporate organization became available in the United States and other countries, was known as the limited liability company or LLC.
Since the GmbH and LLC forms of organization are technically not corporations, they will not be discussed in this article. The word "corporation" derives from corpus, the Latin word for body, or a "body of people". By the time of Justinian, Roman law recognized a range of corporate entities under the names universitas, corpus or collegium; these included the state itself and such private associations as sponsors of a religious cult, burial clubs, political groups, guilds of craftsmen or traders. Such bodies had the right to own property and make contracts, to receive gifts and legacies, to sue and be sued, and, in general, to perform legal acts through representatives. Private associations were granted designated liberties by the emperor. Entities which carried on business and were the subjects of legal rights were found in ancient Rome, the Maurya Empire in ancient India. In medieval Europe, churches became incorporated, as did local governments, such as the Pope and the City of London Corporation.
The point was that the incorporation would survive longer than the lives of any particular member, existing in perpetuity. The alleged oldest commercial corporation in the world, the Stora Kopparberg mining community in Falun, obtained a charter from King Magnus Eriksson in 1347. In medieval times, traders would do business through common law constructs, such as partnerships. Whenever people acted together with a view to profit, the law deemed. Early guilds and livery companies were often involved in the regulation of competition between traders. Dutch and English chartered companies, such as the Dutch East India Company and the Hudson's Bay Company, were created to lead the colonial ventures of European nations in the 17th century. Acting under a charter sanctioned by the Dutch government, the Dutch East India Company defeated Portuguese forces and established itself in the Moluccan Islands in order to profit from the European demand for spices. Investors in the VOC were issued paper certificates as proof of share ownership, were able to trade their shares on the original Amsterdam