Professor Adam Winkler’s We the Corporations: How American Businesses Won Their Civil Rights (Liveright/W.W. Norton, 2018) has been named a candidate for the 2018 National Book Award for nonfiction. Established in 1950 and presented by the National Book Foundation, the National Book Award is one of the most prestigious honors in publishing. Authors who have won past awards in nonfiction include Robert Caro, Rachel Carson, Joan Didion, James Fallows, Maxine Hong Kingston and Gore Vidal.
We the Corporations sheds light on one of the most successful, yet least known civil rights movements in American history. Like minorities and women, corporations too have fought to win equal rights under the Constitution—and today they have nearly all the same rights as ordinary people. Uncovering the deep historical roots of Citizens United v. FEC, Winkler shows how that controversial 2010 Supreme Court decision was the capstone of a 200-year battle over corporate personhood and constitutional protections for business. Bringing to resounding life the legendary lawyers and justices involved in the corporate rights movement—among them Daniel Webster, Roger Taney, Lewis Powell, and even Thurgood Marshall—Winkler's tour de force exposes how the nation’s most powerful corporations gained our most fundamental rights and turned the Constitution into a bulwark against the regulation of big business. Winkler is also the author of Gun Fight: The Battle Over the Right to Bear Arms in America (W.W. Norton, 2013).
Praise for the Book
"Winkler's book provides a masterful retrospective map at a time when people are feeling bewildered and enraged by growing corporate power." — New York Times Book Review
"Winkler overlays the pursuit of corporate civil rights onto American history, from the English corporate colonies to the Bank Wars, from trust-busters and New Dealers to Ralph Nader, Robert Bork and Hobby Lobby. [A] meticulous, educational and thoroughly enjoyable retelling of our nation’s past." — Washington Post
"An eye-opening account of how corporations became 'persons' entitled to constitutional rights and used those rights to impede efforts to regulate them in the interests of real people." — David Cole, author of Engines of Liberty: The Power of Citizen Activists to Make Constitutional Law
Adam Winkler: Interviews and Media Links
Adam Winkler is a frequent commentator and guest who has been featured on numerous television and radio programs and podcasts. His essays have been published in The New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, The New York Review of Books, The Atlantic and elsewhere.
Interviews with Winkler include:
Face the Nation
All Things Considered
Brennan Center with Dahlia Lithwick
Fresh Air, National Public Radio
Aloud Los Angeles
WNYC: The Brian Lehrer Show
University of Washington: American Constitution Society