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The First Amendment and the Business Corporation$
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Ronald J. Colombo

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199335671

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199335671.001.0001

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Associations and Freedom

Associations and Freedom

Chapter:
(p.1) Chapter 1 Associations and Freedom
Source:
The First Amendment and the Business Corporation
Author(s):

Ronald J. Colombo

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199335671.003.0002

Alexis de Tocqueville is credited with making the critical connection between associations and freedom. Individual liberty and limited government are best secured and protected in a society marked by thriving associational activity. Associational activity, in turn, is ensured by affording associations freedoms and protections. Modern scholars have confirmed Tocqueville's views and have categorized associations as “mediating institutions” that occupy an important space between citizen and state. In assessing the freedoms that ought to be afforded to corporations, a critical factor should be whether or not corporations can be characterized as associations. Although he did not discuss corporations, Tocqueville did explicitly include commercial and industrial ventures in his list of associations, thereby giving rise to this possibility. Indeed, if one reviews the characteristics of an association (as can be culled from Tocqueville's writings), it becomes clear that business corporations are in no way categorically excluded from being deemed associations.

Keywords:   associations, freedom, individual liberty, Alexis de Tocqueville, mediating institutions, limited government

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