Abstract

Abstract:

This article examines the little-known case In re Tiburcio Parrott (1880), in which the federal court extended Fourteenth Amendment rights to corporations for the first time. It reveals that an analogy between Chinese immigrants and corporate shareholders was the basis for the court's reasoning. This article explores the social and political context of the movements for Chinese exclusion and corporate regulation in 1870s California to explain this analogy, revealing that Chinese immigrants and corporations were seen as intertwined threats that challenged free white labor and threatened popular democracy. The article focuses on the dueling interpretations of "equal treatment" and "free labor" at play in this conflict. It shows how arguments by corporate lawyers, who represented both corporate clients and Chinese immigrants, and the support of sympathetic judges, lay the foundation for an expansive interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment that eventually was endorsed by the US Supreme Court.

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Additional Information

ISSN
2159-9807
Print ISSN
2154-4727
Pages
pp. 54-80
Launched on MUSE
2020-03-02
Open Access
No
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