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New Jersey had been clearly one of treating corporations just as it did individuals, on the assumption that it was desirable to aid the development of business in the state. This policy deliberately encouraged the growth of large companies and combinations.
It is worthy of note that the whole corporation law of New Jersey, favorable as it has been to the formation of Trusts, was worked out completely by 1888. It was not a law, hungrily or obsequiously passed by a state in intent to take advantage when other states were driving out Trusts. The whole free fabric of New Jersey corporation law was complete before a single anti-trust statute was passed by any state in the Union. New Jersey simply “stood pat” on that law after the fever of anti-trust legislation had attacked most of the states. Its law was different and it believed its law to be wise and right. The event seems to prove again the social helpfulness of our Federal system of government. While most of the states raged against Trusts and drove them out, New Jersey and a few others allowed open opportunity for the organization of these great industrial combinations. The result has been that twenty-five years of unbroken concentration of business capital has continued with effects which seem now to be changing the public mind. It is not at all impossible that another decade will see the majority opinion in America converted to the idea that Trusts should be not only tolerated, but encouraged, provided only that they conduct their business with fair dealings respecting their competitors, their investors, their employees, and those who buy their goods. If such complete reversal of the Trust smashing program of majority America to date should occur, it will be proven that New Jersey served the whole business of the nation well in standing staunchly true to her conviction that legislation should aim to help and not to hinder business development under the corporateform.
When the trust baiting by the states was well under way, such combinations as were driven into exile and such as desired to form anew came to the liberal states, and mainly to New Jersey. Because of her stable policy of a square deal for corporations, the fair range of powers she allowed them, the low and certain taxation and the ample protection of the rights of stockholders, New Jersey, after 1898, became the home of the Trusts.
The record of corporation development in New Jersey as shown by the corporation tax returns from 1885 on is significant. In the year 1885, the first full year after the introduction of the present taxation features into the New Jersey law, the state's receipts from miscellaneous corporations for both annual and incorporation taxes was $151,782.23. There were only twenty-three corporations which paid $1,000 or more taxes each in that year and only one, the Mutual Benefit Insurance Company, which paid above $5,000 annual tax. Of thetwentytwo corporations paying between $1,000 and $5,000, all were transportation, public utility, or insurance corporations except two, the Allen Paper Car Wheel Company (tax $1,250) and the Union Phosphate Mining and Land Company (tax $1,000). In 1913* New Jersey received in current and back taxes from miscellaneous corporations $2,650,694.23, or more than seventeen times the aggregate tax from such corporations received twentyeight years before. In this year of 1913 no less than 432 corporations paid New Jersey $1,000 or more each, in taxes, and sixty-three of these paid each more than $5,000. Contrasting sharply with conditions in 1885, it is notable that only ten of these sixty-three larger corporations were transportation, public utility, or insurance corporations, while fifty-three of them were industrial corporations. Ranging from the Eastman Kodak Company (tax $5,034.42) and the Bethlehem Steel Company (tax $5,250), among the lowest tax payers of these multimillion dollar corporations, through such tax payers as the United States Rubber Company (tax $8,221.97), the American Sugar Refining Company (tax $8,176.71), and the International Harvester Company (tax $10,750), up to the United States Steel Corporation (tax $47,179.18) this group of fifty-three industrial corporations, now organized under New Jersey law, includes nearly all of the notable combinations in the United States.
*1913 is the last year in which the report of the Treasurer of New Jersey gives in detail the receipts from orporations.
In February, 1917, a New Jersey legislative commission reported in favor of repealing all of the “Seven Sisters" anti-trust laws except the one containing the anti-discriminatory legislation (ch. 15). The full text of the Acts appeared March 28, 1917, after the New Jersey legislature had considered the report of this commission, and is given in the Appendix, pp. 404 to 407. This 1917 legislation somewhat restores the old New Jersey attitude of liberality toward industrial combinations.
FEDERAL TRUST LEGISLATION IN THE UNITED STATES
\HE general industrial conditions which stim
ulated an American reaction in anti-trust legis
lation, a reaction which simply gave a new expression of the traditional anti-monopoly creed, are outlined at the beginning of the preceding chapter. The Federal law-making body moved more deliberately than some of the state legislatures and it was not until July 2, 1890, that the first Federal anti-trust act finally became law.
A few bills against Trusts had been introduced in both the House and the Senate early in 1888, before the presidential nominating conventions had issued the antitrust planks* of their platforms. In the summer and fall following these platform declarations, many anti-trust bills were introduced in both houses of Congress. Among these, Senator John Sherman introduced, August 14th, his first anti-trust bill. This bill, wholly amended, was reported back to the Senate from the Committee on Finance in January, 1889, and was debated in January and February.
President Harrison, in his first message to Congress, December 3, 1889, reënforcing the platform mandate of his party in 1888, said: “Earnest attention should be given by Congress to a consideration of the question how far the restraint of those combinations of capital commonly called “Trusts' is a matter of federal jurisdiction. When organized, as they often are, to crush out all healthy competition and to monopolize the production or sale of one article of commerce and general necessity, they are dangerous conspiracies against the public good and should be made the subject of prohibitory and even penal legislation.'
*See p. 244 for these planks.
Senator Sherman, alert to urge action in accord with this presidential advice, again introduced his anti-trust bill on December 4, 1889, this time as Senate Bill No. 1, by title "A bill to declare unlawful Trusts and combinations in restraint of trade and production.” Amendments followed amendments as a result of lengthy debates on this measure during the next four months. On March 27, 1890, the bill, with its proposed amendments, was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. This committee, on April 22d, reported back the amended bill in the very form in which it was finally adopted. The title of the bill was changed to read “A bill to protect trade and commerce against unlawful restraints and monopolies.” This bill passed the Senate, with but one dissenting vote, April 8, 1890, and on May 1st, in amended form, it passed the House. In accord with the Conference Committee's recommendation, the House, after several days of further debate, receded from its amendments, and passed the bill as it had come from the Senate. July 2, 1890, after more than two years of congressional consideration of the Trust question, this first Federal anti-trust statute became law of the land. It has since been known familiarly as the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, although in its final form