© 2017

A History of Socially Responsible Business, c.1600–1950

  • William A Pettigrew
  • David Chan Smith


  • Assesses the full range of social obligations that corporations held historically

  • Investigates the social life of the corporation from three key perspectives

  • Provides a long-term outlook on the oscillation between cultural norms that encouraged socially responsible business and states who tried to force businesses to behave responsibly


Part of the Palgrave Studies in the History of Finance book series (PSHF)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xv
  2. Jason Russell, Andrew Smith, Kevin D. Tennent
    Pages 243-270
  3. Back Matter
    Pages 305-313

About this book


This book examines the changing reciprocal relationships between corporations and their various social obligations over the very long term - from the seventeenth to the twentieth century. Chapters from emerging and established business historians assess the full range of social obligations that corporations held historically. By adopting an innovative methodological approach that is long-term and comparative, this book offers a challenge to the literature on corporate history and will be of interest to researchers and academics in the field of finance and business history.


corporate history state policy civil society non-profit corporations regulated corporations corporate development social responsibility Corporate Social Responsibility Common Law Early Modern English Trading Corporations British Chartered Trading Companies Non-profit Sector Securities Markets

Editors and affiliations

  • William A Pettigrew
    • 1
  • David Chan Smith
    • 2
  1. 1.School of HistoryUniversity of KentCanterburyUnited Kingdom
  2. 2.Department of HistoryWilfrid Laurier UniversityWaterlooCanada

About the editors

William A. Pettigrew is a Reader in History at the University of Kent, UK, the founding Director of the Centre for the Political Economies of International Commerce (PEIC) and the Lead Investigator of a Leverhulme Trust grant project on England’s seventeenth-century overseas trading companies. He is the author of Freedom’s Debt: The Royal African Company and the Politics of the Atlantic Slave Trade, 1672–1752 (2013).

David Chan Smith is an Associate Professor at Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada. He is currently researching the history of corporate social responsibility and beginning his next project on Matthew Boulton, innovation during the Industrial Revolution, and the emergence of global carbon networks. His first book, Sir Edward Coke and the Reformation of the Laws (2014), is a study of the early modern common law.

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title A History of Socially Responsible Business, c.1600–1950
  • Editors William A Pettigrew
    David Chan Smith
  • Series Title Palgrave Studies in the History of Finance
  • Series Abbreviated Title Palgrave Studies in the History of Finance
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2017
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages Economics and Finance Economics and Finance (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-3-319-60145-8
  • Softcover ISBN 978-3-319-86789-2
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-319-60146-5
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XV, 313
  • Number of Illustrations 1 b/w illustrations, 2 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Financial History
    Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Buy this book on publisher's site
Industry Sectors
Finance, Business & Banking