ABSTRACT

The law books distinguish a “natural person” from an artificial person, the former a human being who exists as a product of nature, the latter a collection of individuals existing only “in contemplation of law.” Government finds individuals and associations of individuals, each existing prior to, or at least independent of, any act of law. But the natural person is also artificial in contemplation of law, and the artificial person is as natural, in law, as the natural person. The child grows into the man by a natural process, but government thinks him into a citizen. Even an alien is a part-citizen to the extent that government grants the rights and liberties of citizens. Men associate in families, partnerships, communities, unions, nations, but the law imputes to their association as a unit many of the legal relations that it attributes to natural persons.