Shareholders' rights advocates argue that shareholders have the right to control the corporation. This article examines the basis for the claims. It begins with an analysis of rights, then moves to an analysis of legal rights, which is followed by an analysis of property rights as a species of legal rights. The article then examines the historical context, rationale and development of shareholder rights which leads to the analysis of current shareholders' rights. It concludes with some comments and suggestions concerning future development of corporate governance thinking.