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it had been drawn by others and it had been wholly altered from the original bill as proposed by the senator from Ohio.
Senator Sherman took a leading part throughout the two years of senatorial debate on this Trust subject. A few excerpts from one of his addresses, as the long debate drew to a close, will show the purposes actuating Congress, its full sense of the giant power it was trying to curb, its recognition of the limits to Federal action, and its full realization of the importance of the tariff and the transportation factors in the growth of the American Trusts. In the course of an able argument for anti-trust legislation Senator Sherman said: “Each state can and does prevent and control combinations within the limit of the state. This we do not propose to interfere with.
Unlawful combinations, unlawful at common law, now extend to all the states and interfere with our foreign and domestic commerce and with importation and sale of goods subject to duty under the laws of the United States, against which only the general government can secure relief. They not only affect our commerce with foreign nations, but trade and transportation among the several states. The purpose of this bill is to enable the courts of the United States to apply the same remedies against combinations which injuriously affect the interests of the United States, that have been applied in the several states to protect local interests.
It is to arm the Federal courts within the limits of their constitutional power, that they may coöperate with the state courts in checking, curbing, and controlling the most dangerous combinations that now threaten the business
property and trade of the people of the United States"
“But associated enterprise and capital are not satisfied with partnerships and corporations competing with each other and have invented a new form of combination commonly called 'Trusts,' that seeks to avoid competition by combining the controlling corporations, partnerships, and individuals engaged in the same business and placing the power and property of the combination under the government of a few individuals, and often under the control of a single man called a “trustee,” a “chairman” or a “president.'
“The sole object of such a combination is to make competition impossible.
Such a combination is far more dangerous than any heretofore invented, and when it embraces the great body of all the corporations engaged in a particular industry in all the states of the Union it tends to advance the price to the consumer of any article produced, it is a substantial monopoly injurious to the public and by the rule of both the common and the civil law, is null and void and the just subject of restraint by the courts, of forfeiture of corporate rights and privileges and in some cases should be denounced as a crime, and the individuals engaged in it should be punished as criminals. It is this kind of a combination we have to deal with now we should not submit to an autocrat of trade, with power to prevent competition and to fix the price of
any commodity. If the combination is confined to a state, the state should apply the remedy; if it is interstate and controls any production in many states, Congress must apply the remedy. If the combination is aided by our tariff laws, they should be promptly changed, and if necessary equal competition with the world should be invited in the monopolized article. If the combination affects interstate transportation or is aided in any way by a transportation company, it falls clearly within the power of Congress, and the remedy should be aimed at the corporations embraced in it and should be swift and sure.”*
As this address of Senator Sherman evidences, the issues involved in the Trust movement were set forth as directly, in the congressional debates of 1888 to 1890, as they have been set forth at any time since. Few and young as were the Trusts, their great import was realized and the statute which summarized the conviction of Congress in 1890, has stood, in its main propositions, for twenty-six years, as the well-nigh unchallenged expression of the American will. Later legislation to date seeks only to amplify its reach, to strengthen its means of enforcement, and to reënforce its central proposition that Trusts are bad and should be prevented or abolished. The occasional challenging voices have seemed to be crying in a wilderness.
Before outlining the content of this leading Federal anti-trust law, mention should be made of one amendment, proposed during the debates. This amendment is of interest both because of its later citation before the Federal courts and because it was the shadow cast before section six of the Clayton Act.
This amendment proposed to exempt from the operation of the law agreements or combinations made by laboring men or by persons engaged in agriculture or horticulture. Organized labor had largely influenced congressional action during the 'eighties in passing the contract labor sections of the immigration laws, and in establishing the national Bureau of Labor and the Inter-State Commerce Commission. Friends of the waxing American Federation of Labor and of the waning Knights of Labor foresaw the possibility that this great Federal legal weapon being forged for use against combined capital might readily be turned against combined labor. Therefore came this proposal specifically to safeguard organized labor against such a fate. The amendment, after debate, was lost and its failure to pass gave grounds for later court decisions that the statute was applicable to monopolies and trade restraints due to combinations of labor as well as to combinations of capital. Twenty-four years after the defeat of this amendment the friends and representatives of organized labor succeeded in getting a labor exemption clause written into the Clayton Act.
*See 21, Congressional Record, pp. 2456 and 2457.
Turning now to consideration of the content of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, it seems needful here merely to outline that content since the full text of the law is given as Appendix F-1:
The law contains only eight brief sections. The first three of these define the offences and state the penalties. The law aims to prevent or to destroy any combinations in the United States operating beyond the limits of a single state or territory, which restrain or monopolize trade or which even attempt to monopolize it. Penalties are made severe and applicable to individuals as well as to corporations. The court may assess fines up to $5,000 or jail sentences up to one year or both. Truly, the anti-monopoly spirit was safely enthroned.
The next four sections of this law give jurisdiction to the circuit courts,* make it the duty of Federal district attorneys to prosecute violators of this law, empower the courts to summon witnesses and to make forfeit certain property of any combination being tried, and provide for recovery of liberal three-fold damages by any person who can prove damage done to him by an unlawful combination. The closing section defines person as used in the act so that it covers corporations and associations as well as individuals.
Brief, but direct and broad of application, this Federal law, had it succeeded in doing what its makers intended, would have notably checked the industrial advance of the United States of America during the past twenty
Between 1890 and 1903 many bills concerned with trusts were proposed in Congress, a score in the Senate and more than a hundred in the House, but none passed except the anti-trust sections attached to the Wilson Tariff Act of 1894. Those sections declare unlawful any combinations engaged in importation of goods into the United States whenever these combinations seek to restrain trade or competition or to increase prices of their imported goods or of wares made from these.t
Of the many other anti-trust bills, all of which failed to pass during this thirteen years, some aimed to overcome weaknesses of the Sherman Act shown by the Knight case; others proposed to remove tariff protec
*Jurisdiction is now lodged in the District Courts since the abolition of the Circuit Courts. See Appendix F-7.
fThe full text of these sections of the Wilson Act as retained in the Dingley Act and as slightly amended in the Act of February 12, 1913, is given as Appendix F-2.