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Up To Date Business By Various Characters: 4275

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:03


Stock companies are usually referred to as corporations, though all corporations are not stock companies. A corporation is a body consisting usually of several persons empowered by law to act as one individual. There are two principal classes-(1) public corporations and (2) private corporations. Public corporations are not stock companies; private corporations usually are. Public corporations are created for the public interest, such as cities, towns, universities, hospitals, etc.; private corporations, such as railways, banks, manufacturing companies, etc., are created usually for the profit of the members. Corporate bodies whose members at discretion fill by appointment all vacancies occurring in their membership are sometimes called close corporations.


In the United States the power to be a corporation is a franchise which can only exist through the legislature. There are two distinct methods in which corporations may be called into being: First, by a specific grant of the franchise to the members, and, second, by a general grant which becomes operative in favour of particular persons when they organise for the purpose of availing themselves of its provisions. When the specific grant is made it is called a charter. In the case of private corporations the charter must be accepted by the members, since corporate powers cannot be forced upon them against their will; but the charter is sufficiently accepted by their acting under it. When special charters are not granted individuals may voluntarily associate, and by complying with the provisions of certain State laws may take to themselves corporate powers. In some of the States private corporations are not suffered to be created otherwise than under general laws, and in others public corporations are created in the same way.


[9]For a preliminary treatment of the subject of this lesson the student is referred to Part I. of this book, entitled "General Business Information," especially Lessons XII. and XV.


A corporation must have a name by

which it shall be known in law and in the transaction of its business. The name is given to it in its charter or articles of association and must be adhered to. The necessity for the use of the corporate name in the transaction of business follows from the fact that in corporate affairs the law knows the corporation as an individual and takes no notice of the constituent members.


In municipal corporations in the United States the members are the citizens; the number is indefinite; one ceases to be a member when he moves from the town or city, while every new resident becomes a member when by law he becomes entitled to the privileges of local citizenship. In corporations created for the emolument of their members interests are represented by shares, which may be transferred by their owners, and the assignee becomes entitled to the rights of membership when the transfer is recorded; and if the owner dies his personal representative becomes a member for the time being. In such corporations also shares may be sold in satisfaction of debts against their owners.


The following are given as a few of the advantages which are claimed for corporations and joint-stock companies over partnerships:

Union of capital without the active service of the investors.

Better facilities for borrowing. It is a common thing for a partnership to be changed to a stock company for the express purpose of raising money by the issue of bonds or stock.

Limited agency of directors. A partner may pledge and sell the partnership property, may buy goods on account of the partnership, may borrow money and contract debts in the name and on the account of the partnership. Directors of a joint-stock company must act in accordance with the provisions of the by-laws of the company.

The continuous existence of a company.

New shareholders are admitted more easily than new partners.

A retiring partner is still liable for existing debts. A shareholder may retire absolutely by selling his stock and having it legally transferred.

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