Federal Incorporation of Interstate Business

April 19, 1933

Report Outline
Theodore Roosevelt's Proposal of a National Incorporation Act
Evolution of the Corporation and Incorporation Laws of the States
Abuses Under Incorporation Laws of the States
Proposals for Federal Incorporation or Licensing
Special Focus

Theodore Roosevelt's Proposal of a National Incorporation Act

Twenty-Five Years Ago, in a special message to Congress, April 27, 1908, Theodore Roosevelt recommended full publicity of corporation financing and said: “The issuance of the securities of any combination doing interstate business should be under the supervision of the national government.” In the same message he recommended an anti-injunction law, similar in purpose to that finally enacted by the 72nd Congress in 1932, and he renewed an earlier recommendation for passage of an act which would require federal incorporation of all business enterprises engaged in interstate commerce.

A national incorporation law for railroads had been recommended by President Roosevelt in his annual message of December 3. 1907, at the commencement of the depression which followed the financial panic of that year. As to industrial combinations, he continued:

The Congress has power to charter corporations to engage in interstate and foreign commerce, and a general law can be enacted under the provisions of which existing corporations could take out federal charters and new federal corporations could be created. …Provision should also be made for complete publicity in all matters affecting the public and complete protection to the in vesting public and the shareholders in the matter of issuing corporate securities. If an incorporation law is not deemed advisable, a license act for big interstate corporations might be enacted; or a combination of the two might be tried.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Interstate Commerce
Mar. 17, 1939  Barriers Against Interstate Commerce
Jun. 26, 1935  Interstate Compacts
Apr. 19, 1933  Federal Incorporation of Interstate Business
Feb. 24, 1930  The States and Interstate Utility Problems
Commercial Law