Robert E. Wright: How Nonprofits Became Tax-ExemptRoundup: Historians' Take
tags: Robert E. Wright, taxes, Bloomberg Echoes, Non-profits
Robert E. Wright is the Nef Family Chair of Political Economy at Augustana College in South Dakota and the author of “Corporation Nation,” which will be published in December by the University of Pennsylvania Press.
The uproar over allegations of politically motivated investigations by the Internal Revenue Service shouldn’t be surprising given Americans’ long love affair with nonprofits and their strong disdain of partisanship, especially within bureaucracies.
After independence, and especially after ratification of the Constitution, Americans began forming businesses, charities and other associations at unprecedented rates. Unshackled from British law and the threat of monarchical tyranny, they sought to invest in long-term stability, and in each other, in ways that required the establishment of large and lasting organizations.
To create these institutions, early Americans adapted corporate laws from Britain. At first, incorporation required both for-profit and nonprofit organizations to obtain a charter from state governments. Charters were special laws passed by state legislatures and signed by governors under the rules of state constitutions.
Before the Civil War began in early 1861, more than 22,000 businesses and untold numbers of churches, charities, promotional associations and other nongovernmental organizations incorporated....
comments powered by Disqus
- The Most Controversial Psych Study Is Repeated — Same Weird Result
- A new book explores the stunning revelation that Hemingway spied for the USSR
- A President’s Restless Corpse May Be on the Move Again in Tennessee
- How China and the U.S. might collide — or not
- Major Viking Age Archaeological Find Discovered in Denmark
- The New York Times celebrates biographer Richard Holmes
- Historians are in demand! (On cruise ships)
- Douglas Brinkley says there’s a "smell of treason in the air"
- Mary Maples Dunn, Advocate of Women’s Colleges and President of Smith, Dies at 85
- Gil Troy says Jews and Israelis are the victims of a “Hate Swarm”