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How the Corporation Lost Its Image as a “Creature of State”

Previously recognized as quasi-public institutions whose shareholders received corporate privileges in exchange for the fulfillment of public goods, corporations are today primarily understood to be private economic actors. This conceptual shift is in some ways quite puzzling. Despite the changing nature of the relationship between states and corporations throughout the 19th century, corporate business entities always, in practice, remained embedded in state and political institutions. How, then, did the image of the corporation as a “creature” or a “creation” of the state come to be replaced with an understanding of the corporation as a “pure creature of the market”?