Most businesses were small partnerships before the Civil War, but by 1900, larger businesses began to take over the economy. Corporations are what made this possible, organizations owned by many people, but treated as one person. The corporations were able to make contracts, sue people, be sued, own property, and pay taxes, just like an actual person. The corporation owners own stocks in the business, and are so called stockholders. this system allowed the corporation to make money, and the financial risk was divided between more people.