State and Company in Legal-Historical Perspective

This module examines the relationship between the public and private power through the historical lens of the East India Company (established in 1600), one of the first multinational corporations. In particular, it examines: the formation and evolution of the Company and the legal implications of its ambiguous status as a private or public entity; its transformation into a sovereign power in India against the backdrop of the rise of the modern state and modern constitutionalism in Europe and the United States of America; and the Company’s role in the founding of modern Singapore; and the Company’s demise in 1858.

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