Joseph B. Eastman: Servant of the People

By Claude Moore Fuess | Go to book overview

X
Problems and Policies

THE INTERSTATE COMMERCE ACT Of 1887 had been, as we have seen, an expression of the popular agitation against monopoly which culminated in 1890 in the Sherman Antitrust Act. By forbidding "pooling" it attempted to enforce competition--always a difficult matter, human nature being what it is. But although public sentiment frowned on railroad mergers, clever financial manipulators and corporation lawyers had little trouble in bringing them about; indeed, they developed throughout the "tolerant 1890's" until by 1906 almost one third of the country's railroad mileage was dominated by the Harriman interests. It will be recalled that in 1893 the New Haven entered into an arrangement for dividing the New England region with the Boston & Maine, and that Eastman later assisted Louis D. Brandeis in his long fight for the dissolution of the New Haven's holding company, when in a campaign of expansion it had acquired a virtual monopoly of New England transportation. Mention has already been made of the Supreme Court's dramatic 5-4 decision in 1904 ordering the breaking up of the Northern Securities Company, which aimed at the consolidation of two of the largest transcontinental systems. The experience of World War II, however, led earlier critics of railroad monopoly, like Eastman, to perceive the advantages of eliminating cut-throat competition and encouraging friendly cooperation. If government ownership and control were not possible, he was willing to accept voluntary legal consolidations, provided they were sufficiently well regulated. He could never be stirred to ardent enthusiasm on this subject, however, and it was to some extent owing to him that the commission did not move decisively toward a nation-wide organization.

It has been pointed out in an earlier chapter that the Transporta-

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Joseph B. Eastman: Servant of the People
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Foreword v
  • Contents ix
  • Illustrations xi
  • Introduction xiii
  • I - Yankee Background 3
  • II - Growing Up 8
  • III - An Amherst Education 19
  • IV - Apprenticeship in Public Service 37
  • V - Transition to Power 61
  • VI - From State to Nation 80
  • VII - The Independent Commissioner 96
  • VIII - The Prosperity Era 126
  • IX - Valuation Is Vexation 153
  • X - Problems and Policies 166
  • XI - Federal Coordinator of Transportation 180
  • XII - The Coordinator's Task and Achievements 211
  • XIII - Eastman and the New Deal 245
  • XIV - The Last Big Job 270
  • XV - The End of the Road 297
  • XVI - The Measure of a Man 312
  • Index 345
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