This section is from the book "Business Finance", by William Henry Lough. Also available from Amazon: Business Finance, A Practical Study of Financial Management in Private Business Concerns.
The men who took part in the early English joint-stock enterprises - such as trading expeditions to the Indies or Americas - were appropriately known as "adventurers." The title would not be inappropriate in many cases if it were ap-plied to present-day shareholders in corporations. The average shareholder in a large corporation has the privilege of paying out money in return for which he receives his holdings of stock, and has the right to his proportionate share of whatever profits, are distributed. He has also the right - which the small shareholder seldom exercises - of voting for directors who are supposed to represent him. That duty having once been performed, he ceases to be a factor of much importance in the management of the company; in fact, as a shareholder, he probably does nothing except hopefully wait for and gratefully receive whatever dividends the board of directors sees fit to allot to him.