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A corporation is a business that although owned by one or more investors legally has the rights and duties of an individual Corporations have the right to buy sell and own property Corporations may make legal contracts hire and fire workers set prices and be sued fined and taxed A business must obtain a charter of incorporation from a state legislature or Congress to be legally recognized as a corporationWatson p211 While corporations didnt exist until the mid to late 1800s the idea of the corporation had existed since the early 1600s It all started with English merchants who started trading companies to help fund the early colonies If the colonies thrived the stockholders reaped in the profit Watson p211 A corporation is started when a sole proprietorship a one-owner business that is the most common form of business institution in the US or a partnership an association of two or more people in order to run a business decides that they dont want to be personally responsible for any loss the company might have Watson p211 Or they might decide that they want the company to live on after they die that is for the business to have unlimited life Since neither of these goals can be reached with a sole proprietorship or a partnership the owner or owners as the case may be decide that he they want to convert their business to a corporation The owners file a charter of incorporation from the government to be legally recognized as a corporation Boyd March 99 The owners then sell shares of stock documents representing ownership in the corporation to investors These investors buy and sell the stock to small investors or stockholders Since there is no limit to the number of shareholders to a company the investors vote for every share you own you get one vote on a board of directors The board of directors are in charge of hiring the people
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