In 1892, the Populists’ People’s Party ran James Baird Weaver as their Presidential candidate. That same year, Weaver published “A Call to Action,” which offered a cogent indictment of the rise of the Corporate State in place of the recently dismantled Slave State in America.
That’s a crucial point. Slavery, and the economic system that went with, had been destroyed. Something had to takes its place. (Karl Marx said the US Civil War was due to two competing economic systems that could no longer peacefully co-exist, which is certainly a major reason why it happened.)
Chapter VI, entitled “Evolution In Crime, or Improved Methods of Piracy”… spells out the un-democratic origins and nature of corporations in America
Here’s one excerpt, (from Democracy School, who has PDFs of the book)
“Our government has chartered thousands of corporations, turned them loose upon us and now permits them to commit from year to year… outrages upon our people. These charters are neither more nor less than letters of marque, authorizing those who hold them to prey upon the commerce of the country, and they are the forerunners of something still more serious if they be not speedily recalled and the evils they entail quickly remedied…The object had inview by the incorporators, in ninety-nine cases out of every hundred, is to shirk personal responsibility in case of loss…These enterprises are made up of expectation and apprehension. If expectations are realized, corporators flourish; if apprehensions are verified, the misfortune is unloaded upon the people. Could anything be more monstrous?”
Corporatism, as enshrined in the 14th Amendment with the spurious concept of “personhood” was something the populists rightfully fought against tooth and nail. They saw what was coming.