Clayton Antitrust Act

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Clayton Antitrust Act

Clayton Antitrust Act, 1914, passed by the U.S. Congress as an amendment to clarify and supplement the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890. It was drafted by Henry De Lamar Clayton. The act prohibited exclusive sales contracts, local price cutting to freeze out competitors, rebates, interlocking directorates in corporations capitalized at $1 million or more in the same field of business, and intercorporate stock holdings. Labor unions and agricultural cooperatives were excluded from the forbidden combinations in the restraint of trade. The act restricted the use of the injunction against labor, and it legalized peaceful strikes, picketing, and boycotts. It declared that "the labor of a human being is not a commodity or article of commerce." Organized labor was as heartened by the act as it had been dejected by the doctrine of the Danbury Hatters' Case, but subsequent judicial construction weakened the act's labor provisions. The Clayton Antitrust Act was the basis for a great many important and much-publicized suits against large corporations. Later amendments to the act strengthened its provisions against unfair price cutting (1936) and intercorporate stock holdings (1950).

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