Where You Stand

A natural man or woman may “stand” upon their constitutional rights, being entitled to carry on their private business in their own way. Their power to contract is unlimited. They owe no duty to the State or their neighbours to divulge their business, or to open their doors to investigation, so far as it may tend to incriminate them. Their rights live permanently in the “law of the land”, antecedent to the organisation of the State, and can only be taken from them by “due process of law”, in accordance with the Constitution. They receive nothing from the State, beyond the protection of their life and property. They owe nothing to the public so long as they do not trespass upon their rights.

Whereas, a corporation is a creation of the State. It is presumed to be incorporated for the benefit of the State. It receives certain public privileges and franchises, holding them subject to the statutes of the State and the limitations of its charter. Its privileges are only preserved while it obeys the statutes of its creation. There is a reserved right in the legislature to investigate its contracts to determine if it has exceeded its limited powers. The State, having chartered a corporation to make use of certain franchises, can exercise its sovereignty to inquire how those franchises have been employed, and whether they have been abused, and it can demand the corporate books and papers for that purpose.

[reference Hale vs Henkel]
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