156 U.S. 1, 15 S.Ct. 249, 39 L.Ed. 325 ( 1895)
The American Sugar Refining Company, which controlled a majority of the sugar-refining companies of the United States, attempted to attain an almost complete monopoly by purchasing control of the E. C. Knight Company and th. ee other companies, which together produced about one-third of the national output. Alleging that the defendant companies (American Sugar, E. C. Knight, and three others) had entered into contracts that constituted combinations in restraint of trade, and that these companies had conspired to restrain trade, both contraxy to the Sherman Anti-Trust Act of 1890, the government sought to obtain a court order canceling the various agreements. The lower federal courts refused to grant this relief on the ground that the combination or conspiracy involved in this case pertained to manufacturing, and not to interstate commerce. The United States appealed.
MR. CHIEF JUSTICE FULLER . . . delivered the opinion of the court.
By the purchase of the stock of the four Philadelphia refineries, with shares of its own stock, the American Sugar Refining Company acquired nearly complete control of the manufacture of refined sugar within the United States. The bill charged that the contracts under which these purchases were made constituted combinations in restraint of trade, and that in entering into them the defendants combined and conspired to restrain the trade and commerce in refined sugar among the several States and with foreign nations, contrary to the act of Congress of July 2, 1890. . . .
The fundamental question is, whether conceding that the existence of a monopoly in manufacture is established by the evidence, that monopoly can be directly suppressed under the act of Congress in the mode attempted by this bill.
It cannot be denied that the power of the State to protect the lives, health, and property of its citizens, and to preserve good order and the public morals, "the power to govern men and things within the limits of its dominion," is a power originally and always belonging to the States, not surrendered by them to the general government, nor directly restrained by the Constitution of the United States, and essentially exclusive. The relief of the citizens of each State from the burden of monopoly and the evils resulting from the restraint of trade among such citizens was left with the States to deal with, and this court has recognized their possession of that power even to the extent of holding that an employment or business carried on by private individuals, when it becomes a matter of such public interest and importance as to create a common charge or burden upon the citizen; in other words, when it becomes a practical monopoly, to which the citizen is com
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Publication information: Book title: American Constitutional Law:Introductory Essays & Selected Cases. Contributors: Alpheus Thomas Mason - Author, William M. Beaney - Author. Publisher: Prentice Hall. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1954. Page number: 266.
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