Select Statutes and Other Documents: Illustrative of the History of the United States, 1861-1898

By William MacDonald | Go to book overview

No. 120. Anti-Trust Act
July 2, 1890

SEVERAL bills for the regulation of trusts came before Congress during the session of 1888-1889, but none got beyond the stage of discussion. A bill "to declare unlawful trusts and combinations in restraint of trade and production" was introduced in the Senate, December 4, 1889, by Sherman, and referred to the Committee on Finance, which reported it with amendments January 14, 1890. The bill was taken up February 27 and debated until March 27, when it was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary with instructions to report within twenty days. A substitute was reported April 2, and on the 8th passed the Senate with amendments. The House amended the bill so as to make unlawful "every contract or agreement entered into for the purpose of preventing competition in the sale or purchase of a commodity transported from one State to be sold in another." The Senate added further amendments, to which the House disagreed, and the bill went to a conference committee, which recommended that each house recede from its amendments. The acceptance of the report resulted in the passage of the Senate bill.

REFERENCES.--Text in U.S. Statutes at Large, XXVI, 209, 210. For the proceedings see the House and Senate Journals, 51st Cong., 1st Sess., and the Cong. Record. The text of Sherman's original bill is in the Record, February 27. The report of the House Committee on the Judiciary, April 25, is House Report 1707; for an earlier report on the investigation of trusts see House Report 3112, 50th Cong., 1st Sess. For decisions under the act to 1897 see Gould and Tucker, Notes on the Revised Statutes, II, 622, 623.

An act to protect trade and commerce against unlawful restraints and monopolies.

Be it enacted . . .,

SEC. 1. Every contract, combination in the form of trust or otherwise, or conspiracy, in restraint of trade or commerce among the several States, or with foreign nations, is hereby declared to be illegal. Every person who shall make any such contract or engage in any such combination or conspiracy, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and, on conviction thereof, shall be punished by fine not exceeding five thousand dollars, or by imprisonment not exceeding one year, or by both said punishments, in the discretion of the court.

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