A term describing the United States Supreme Court's decision to apply the federal Bill of Rights provisions to people affected by the actions of states. The rights were brought to the people through the 14th amendment, which states (section 1),

"No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. "

The earliest interpretation of this clause occured in Barron v. Baltimore in 1833 and in the Slaughterhouse Cases in 1873. At the time, the judges used the concept of original intent as their method of judicial review and did not interpret it as incorporating the bill of rights.

The Bill of Rights was first incorporated in the case of Gitlow vs. New York in 1925. Gitlow had been advocating young men to dodge the draft, and the state of New York had punished him accordingly. However, he appealed the decision and the case was brought to the Supreme Court, which ruled that the state of New York could not infringe upon his rights created by the bill of rights and guaranteed to him by the 14th amendment. The bill of rights was then incorporated fully.

Another commonly used word for incorporation is nationalisation.
See Amendment XIV, Supreme Court, Bill of Rights
Many North American and Siberian languages allow the direct object of a verb to be incorporated into the verb itself. It is pronounced as part of the verb, and may have verbal affixes attached to it. It is in some ways like a compound word, but any noun of the appropriate type may be (or in some cases must be) incorporated.

Normally the object is less specific when incorporated. You don't get free variation between two clauses, both meaning the same thing, one with incorporation and one without: the process has the effect of reducing the salience of the object. This is mirrored in English translation by omitting determiners like 'the, a, some'.

In this Nahuatl (Aztec) example, the word nacatl 'flesh' loses its absolute ending and is reduced to a stem, which is inserted between the subject prefix and the verb, replacing the object prefix -c-:

ni-c-qua in  naca-tl
I-it-eat the flesh-ABS
'I eat the flesh'

'I eat flesh'

In many incorporating languages it also turns a transitive verb into an intransitive one. In Chukchee (Siberia) the transitive subject goes in the ergative case, and the object goes in the absolutive, as does an intransitive subject. The verb also marks the subject/object relation. When the object is incorporated into the verb, the remaining subject is now marked with the absolutive, and the verb is marked for a subject only. (The verb and object also change phonetic form.)

ətləg-e    qorangə       təm-nen
father-ERG reindeer(ABS) kill-PAST:he/it
'Father killed the reindeer'

ətləg-ən   qaa-nmə-g?e
father-ABS reindeer-kill-PAST:he
'Father killed a reindeer'
In effect they are creating verbs 'to flesh-eat', 'to reindeer-kill', meaning to eat flesh generally, to do some killing of reindeer. While it is usually the direct object that is incorporated, it can be other actants such as instruments, or the subjects of stative or unaccusative verbs, those that don't actively do anything. In Huahtla Nahuatl ya' kikochillotete'ki panci 'he knife-cut the bread' incorporates kochillo 'knife', while in Onondaga kahsahe?tahíhwi is a verb meaning 'it beans-spilled' or 'there was beans-spilling'.

You never get active subjects incorporating, to give verbs like 'to father-kill', taking a separate object. The closest you can get is when the relationship is reversed, effectively incorporating the agent from the passive voice. So in Southern Tiwa khwienide kanêdeureban 'the dog was horse-kicked'. But no language uses an incorporation like *'horse-kicked the dog'.

Outside the various Siberian and American language families that use it true incorporation is very rare: some non-Pama-Nyungan languages of northern Australia also do it. But a lot of languages have strategies that are similar. In Japanese foreign words are made verbs by placing them next to suru 'to do': so 'to study' is benkyoo suru. However, the noun can also take the accusative particle o like a normal object. There is also no phonetic fusion in these newly-created words, though older ones do exist with the suru changed to a suffix -zuru or -ziru.

English can freely make lexical compounds of noun and verb, with the result being another verb. Examples are: to colour-code, to baby-sit, to window-shop, to carbon-date, and to breast-feed. However, all of these have special meanings: none is simply the incorporation of the direct object. To window-shop isn't to shop a window, and to breast-feed isn't to feed a breast. Typically they are incorporations of prepositional phrases, and it is not strictly predictable which: to code with colours, to shop in windows, to feed from breasts.

English can't form compound verbs of the incorporating type, like *flesh-eat or *car-drive or *deer-hunt. (Nor can it incorporate subjects, like *father-kill or *horse-kick, but no language can.) Strikingly though, it very freely allows these compound verbs inside larger compounds formed by affixation; you can't car-drive to work, and you can't car-drive a Mercedes, but you can be a car-driver and go in for car-driving. These are transparent in meaning: a car-driver is just a driver of a car, and deer-hunting is just the hunting of deer. One theoretical reason that the verbs like *deer-hunt are not found may be that this morphology is in direct competition with the syntax 'hunt deer', combining the same elements and with the same meaning. If either different structural trees are combined, or the resultant structure has a distinct idiomatic meaning, the morphological compounding is allowed. (Actually, a Web search does show quite a few hits for a verb 'deer-hunt', so the principle isn't watertight; they seldom are.)

In incorporating languages proper, some use the incorporated head noun as a classifier. In these languages, 'to car-drive' remains transitive, continuing to allow an object, and you can car-drive a Mercedes. But in others, 'to car-drive' has used up the verb's object slot.

Gerdts, D. 'Incorporation', in Spencer and Zwicky (eds), 1998, The Handbook of Morphology, Blackwell

In United States constitutional law, "incorporation" refers to the application of the Bill of Rights to state governments through the Fourteenth Amendment. During the 19th century, the Bill of Rights was held to apply to the federal government alone: the seminal case establishing this was Barron v. Baltimore. State governments could abridge the Bill of Rights all they wanted, unless a state constitutional provision barred their action.

After the Civil War, the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified to grant citizenship to black Americans and (attempt to) ensure their equal treatment under the law. One of its provisions was that no state could deprive any individual of life, liberty, or property without due process of law. This was almost identical to a provision in the Fifth Amendment, which applied a similar rule to the feds. Another provision in the Fourteenth Amendment was that no state could deprive any individual of the "privileges and immunities" of citizens of the United States.

Some jurists, most notably Hugo Black and William O. Douglas, advocated incorporating the entire Bill of Rights in one fell swoop. Their view, however, was in the minority. Others such as Benjamin Cardozo, Lewis Powell, Felix Frankfurter, and John Harlan were in favor of incorporating only those rights deemed "fundamental to our concept of ordered liberty." It took the Supreme Court a long time to get through all of these rights, but over time, the most familiar components of the Bill of Rights were held to apply to states:

Several provisions of the Bill of Rights have still not been incorporated, and can theoretically be broken by the states at will. Among these are the Second Amendment's right to bear arms, and the Third Amendment's freedom from compulsory quartering of soldiers.

In*cor`po*ra"tion (?), n. [L. incorporatio: cf. F. incorporation.]


The act of incorporating, or the state of being incorporated.


The union of different ingredients in one mass; mixture; combination; synthesis.


The union of something with a body already existing; association; intimate union; assimilation; as, the incorporation of conquered countries into the Roman republic.

4. Law (a)

The act of creating a corporation.


A body incorporated; a corporation.


© Webster 1913.

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