Liberty, Property, and Privacy: Toward a Jurisprudence of Substantive Due Process

By Edward Keynes | Go to book overview

5
The Supreme Court, the Public Interest, and Economic Liberty, 1873-1921

In the thirty-five years following the Civil War, the United States became a transcontinental nation linked by railroad and telegraph. Between 1865 and 1900 the public corporation emerged as the dominant form of industrial capitalism. A new wave of immigrants landed in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, and other cities. Looking for economic opportunity, the new immigrants, largely from southern and eastern Europe, became the backbone of America's industrial labor force. The nation's cities began to grow like Topsy, formerly serene residential neighborhoods cheek to jowl with noisy and dirty industrial quarters.

Confronted with the problems of urbanization, industrialization, economic integration, and concentrations of wealth, the states and the federal government employed their respective powers to accommodate the new industrial order. The states attempted to ameliorate the effects of the machine age, market distortions, rapid urban growth, and the arrival of millions of immigrants by enacting worker compensation laws, wages-and-hours regulations, mine-safety statutes, public-health inspection laws, consumer-protection statutes, and railway and public-utility rates and regulations, among other measures. Cities adopted zoning codes, erected public works, and cre-

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