♦ CHAPTER TWO ♦From Street Fights to EmpireThe British roots of the American corporation (1267-1773)

THE YEAR WAS 1267, and blood flowed in the muddy streets of London. A dispute between two guilds—the Goldsmiths and the Tailors— had escalated until it turned into armed conflict. The issues that led to the fighting are not recorded, but history does tell us that over five hundred men were involved, including members of the Clothworkers’ Guild and the Cordwainers’ Guild, and that many were injured or killed.

Such rumbles broke out from time to time among the scores of craft guilds that had arisen during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. In 1340 it was the Skinners fighting the Fishmongers in the Cheapside district of the city. In 1378, ...

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