I have an op ed coming out on the Supreme Court's lousy decision to allow corporations free reign in political elections under the First Amendment (Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission). (Why can't it read the Second Amendment so liberally? See my previous post). The court's claim that the founding generation did not fear the political power of corporations (particularly banks) is of course ludicrous, as the following excerpt, with original emphases, shows:
Littleton Teackle, An Address to the Members of the Legislature of Maryland, Concerning the Establishment of a Loan Office for the Benefit of the Landowners of the State (Annapolis, 1817), 15-16.
"But the most dangerous and worst thing to be apprehended from the system of commercial banks is, that it has a tendency to destroy the government of the United States, and to establish a government of secret influence, in the place of the free and open government of the people by their representatives the congress and the president, and very much resembling the plan contrived by the French for getting the government of this country into their hands during the presidency of General Washington, and mentioned in Fauchet's intercepted letters. By that plan, a club was to be established in Philadelphia, which was to hold correspondence with a great number of subordinate clubs in every part of the country, the members of which, were to be under the direction of the club in Philadelphia, and were to use their influence to get such members elected into the Senates and Houses of Representatives of the United States, and the several states, as would act according to the directions of the club; and the French were to get their partizens [sic] admitted into these clubs, especially into the mother club in Philadelphia. This scheme of the French minister failed, as he himself says, because he had not the money necessary to carry it into execution. By the present system of commercial banks, the president and directors of the bank of the United States at Philadelphia, having a number of branch banks in every part of the United States, and having the appointment of all the directors in these branch banks, has the entire control and complete influence over all the directors of these branch banks and all the persons who borrow money of them, and these branch banks will have great power and influence over the commercial banks which will be indepted [sic] to them, and the directors of these commercial banks will have great influence over all the persons who borrow money of them; so that the merchants in towns, will be under their influence. The merchants or storekeepers in the country, being indebted to the merchants in town, will be under their influence, and the greater part of the freeholders and people in the country, being kept poor and indebted to the country merchants and store keepers, will be under their influence. By this means no persons will be chosen into the state legislatures or into congress, but such, as will be directed by, and comply with the desires of the directors of the mother bank at Philadelphia, and their associates the directors of the other banks; and the government of the United States, preserving all the forms of a free elective representative government, will by the operation of this secret influence, fall into the power of bank directors, Stockholders, stockjobbers, jew brokers*, and money changers ..."
*Yep, that's what it says.