Notable Quotes on Corporations
and Constitutional Rights

"Chartered privileges [corporations] are a burthen, under which the people of Britain, and other European nations, groan in misery." (quoted in Taking Care of Business by Richard Grossman and Frank T. Adams)

Thomas Earle
Pamphleteer, 1823

"Of the cases in this court in which the Fourteenth Amendment was applied during its first fifty years after its adoption, less than one half of one percent invoked it in protection of the Negro race, and more than fifty percent asked that its benefits be extended to corporations." (quoted in Unequal Protection by Thom Hartmann)

Hugo Black
Supreme Court Justice, 1938

"A corporation has no rights except those given it by law. It can exercise no power except that conferred upon it by the people through legislation, and the people should be as free to withhold as to give, public interest and not private advantage being the end in view." (quoted in Unequal Protection by Thom Hartmann)

William Jennings Bryan
Orator and Presidential Candidate

"In the year 1877, the signals were given for the rest of the century: . . . the industrial and political elites of North and South would take hold of the country and organize the greatest march of economic growth in human history. They would do it with the aid of, and at the expense of, black labor, white labor, Chinese labor, European immigrant labor, female labor, rewarding them differently by race, sex, national origin, and social class, in such a way as to create separate levels of oppression -- a skillful terracing to stabilize the pyramid of wealth." (In A People's History of the United States)

Howard Zinn
Historian, 1995

"I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country . . . corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed."

Abraham Lincoln
President of the United States, 1864

"I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country."

Thomas Jefferson
President of the United States, 1812
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This site last updated on October 1, 2007