The Trust Problem in the United States

By Eliot Jones | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XIV 1
TRUST LEGISLATION TO 1914

During the years 1882 to 1887 a number of trusts had been created. This movement toward industrial monopoly was viewed with great concern by the people of the United States, and a vigorous demand was made for the enactment of legislation that would definitely make these trusts illegal. As Justice Harlan said in 1911: "All who recall the condition of the country in 1890 will remember that there was everywhere, among the people generally, a deep feeling of unrest. The Nation had been rid of human slavery--fortunately, as all now feel--but the conviction was universal that the country was in real danger from another kind of slavery sought to be fastened on the American people, namely, the slavery that would result from aggregation of capital in the hands of a few individuals and corporations controlling, for their own profit and advantage exclusively, the entire business of the country, including the production and sale of the necessaries of life."2 In 1888 both of the leading political parties referred in their platforms to the dangers inherent in trusts, and demanded action. Thus, the platform of the Republican party read:

"We declare our opposition to all combinations of capital, organized in trust or otherwise, to control arbitrarily the condition of trade among our citizens; and we recommend to Congress and the state legislatures, in their respective jurisdictions, such legislation as will prevent the execution of all schemes to oppress the people by undue charges on their supplies, or by unjust rates for the transportation of their products to marke."3

____________________
1
For a more detailed account of the legislation of this period, see Knauth, The Policy of the Unite States towards Industrial Monopoly.
2
221U.S. 83.
3
McKee, The National Conventions and Plantforms of all Political Parties, p. 241.

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