This is a proposal that seeks to advance a new interpretation of the history of the formation of ideas and institutions of the Executive branch of government. The working hypothesis is that the rise of a strong Executive in the political culture and theories of the 17th and 18th centuries is connected to the theorizing and functioning of the office of director of colonial/chartered companies. During the fellowship at the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study my plan is to concentrate on the governance of the African chartered companies. The implications are far-reaching, both theoretical and practical. On the one hand, this research will significantly enhance our understanding of an important chapter in the development of political theory. On the other hand, it will offer new insights on the nature and functioning of the Executive in the modern world.