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Exhibition Join In: Voluntary Assocations in America

“Massachusetts Charter of 1636” in The Charters of the British Colonies in America. London, Printed for J. Almon [1774?]. Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress (003.01.01)

“One Bodie Politque and Corporate”

In March of 1629, King Charles I granted a charter to a group of investors that called itself the New England Company. The charter incorporated the investors recognizing them as “one Bodie politique and corporate.” It set out the requirements for the new company’s governance, the election of governors and officers, and established the power to make laws subject to review by the King. Unlike most charters, which tied a corporation to a place, the Massachusetts Charter of 1629 omitted any requirement for the corporation to hold meetings in England. Seizing on the opportunity, the corporation elected to relocate to Massachusetts. The corporate identity of Massachusetts left a lasting impression on its inhabitants.