“Shareholder” and “stockholder” are synonyms. This post explains how most states came to use the former term in their laws, while Delaware consistently has used the latter.
Before Delaware had a general corporation law, Delaware’s legislature created each corporation. The Constitution of Delaware – 1831 so provided in Article II, Section 17, but made no mention of stockholders (or shareholders).
Following a constitutional amendment, Delaware adopted its first general corporation law in 1875. (See Laws of the State of Delaware, Vol. 15 – Part 1, beginning at page 181.) That law includes a few references to “stockholder”, none to “shareholder”. (more…)