Corporate Law before Capitalism

One forgets that when Blackstone was writing his celebrated Commentaries on the Laws of England in the mid-18th century, business was not the most obvious application of the corporate form.

And so when Blackstone gives a list of types of corporations, he puts the business corporation last:

These artificial persons are called bodies politic, bodies corporate, (corpora corporata) or corporations: of which there is a great variety subsisting, for the advancement of religion, of learning, and of commerce.”

1 William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England 303 (Oxford 2016) (1765).

Blackstone goes on to take, as his primary example of a corporation, not the business corporation, but rather “the case of a college in either of our universities.”