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tion from trust-made goods; all evidenced unabated Congressional zeal for Trust destruction.
It became apparent in the early attempts to administer the Sherman Law that there was need of a permanent Federal administrative agency with ample powers to secure information from the greater corporations and to give publicity to their modes of conducting business. Justice Harlan urged in 1893* the necessity for establishing “an administrative body representing the whole country, always watchful of the general interests and charged with the duty, not only of obtaining the required information, but of compelling, by all lawful methods, obedience to such rules.” He further urged that such a body was needed both to secure information necessary as a basis for further intelligent legislation relative to great corporations and to enforce such laws as might be passed.
In 1902 the Industrial Commission made official recommendation, in its final report, that a permanent bureau should be created with the duties of registering all state corporations doing an interstate business, of getting from such corporations full reports needed for levying a franchise tax, of inspecting the business of such corporations to determine that they obey the law, and of making investigations to furnish Congress with information for future legislation.
Early in 1903 Attorney General Knox recommended to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary that “a commission should be created to aid in carrying out the
provisions of the Act of July 2, 1890, and any further legislation relating to commerce.” *See Interstate Commerce Commission v. Brimson, 154 U.S. 474.
In accord with these various suggestions, Congress February 14, 1903, established the Department of Commerce and Labor and provided for a Bureau of Corporations* in this Department. The chief functions of this Bureau were those of investigation and publicity. It was generally felt that more light was needed on the interstate corporation before Congress should further legislate. The principal work of this Bureau of Corporations has been to investigate Trusts and combinations in restraint of trade. It has also advised the Department of Justice in cases involving enforcement of the anti-trust laws.
The Bureau, between 1905 and 1915, when it was absorbed by the new Federal Trade Commission, published twenty-nine special volumes giving detailed information concerning the Beef, Petroleum, Tobacco, Steel and Lumber industries, the Cotton Exchanges, Taxation of Corporations, and Water Transportation in the United States.
The other Trust laws, passed in 1903, provided for expediting Trust suits in which the United States was a complainant,ť and for making immediately available for furthering prosecutions under the Inter-State Commerce and the anti-trust acts the sum of half a million dollars. A proviso of this latter act granted immunity to persons testifying in suits under the Trust and commerce acts. In 1906 this immunity was limited to natural persons only.
For a decade after 1903 attention was given to gathering elaborate information concerning Trusts through the Bureau of Corporations and to active prosecution, under the attorney-general, of alleged violators of the Federal anti-trust laws. No additions to the national anti-trust laws were made during this decade except the slight modification of the immunity provision noted above and the single paragraph in the Panama Canal Act,* which forbids the use of the Canal by vessels belonging to violators of the anti-trust statutes.
*See Appendix F-4. Act of February 14, 1903, section 6. See Appendix F-3. Act of February 11, 1903, amended by act of June 25, 1910. See Appendix F-8. Act of February 25, 1903. gSee Appendix F-6. Act of June 30, 1906.
The elaborate reports on various Trusts made by the Bureau of Corporations and the findings of fact in the many prosecutions of Trusts, notably in the Oil and Tobacco cases of 1911, emphasized the high value of knowing the facts, and focussed public attention upon questionable practices of great combinations. Thus the way was prepared for the most important additions to the Federal anti-trust laws which have been made since 1890, the Federal Trade Commission Act and the Clayton Act, both passed in the fall of 1914.
In 1908 the platform of the Democratic party reiterated its ancient slogan “a private monopoly is indefensible and intolerable" and called for criminal prosecution of "guilty Trust magnates" and for law "to make it impossible for a private monopoly to exist in the United States.” Three special remedies were proposed by Democracy: (1) a law against interlocking directorates; (2) a federal license system requiring each corporation doing inter-state business to have a federal license before it should be permitted to control 25 per cent. of its kind of business in the United States, and forbidding it in any case to control above 50 per cent. of such busi*See Appendix F-8. Section 11 of Act of March 4, 1913.
ness; and (3) a law compelling all licensed corporations to sell to all purchasers in the United States on the same terms, making due allowance for cost of transportation.
The Republican party, in its 1908 platform, dismissed the Trust issue in three sentences, declaring the Sherman anti-trust law, passed and enforced by Republicans, to be “a wholesome instrument for good in the hands of a wise and a fearless administration,” but admitting that amendments were needed to give the Federal Government greater control over inter-state corporations tending to monopoly.
The Republicans won the election and remained content with another four years of “fearless administration” using the same “wholesome instrument for good,” unchanged by any amendments giving greater control over Trusts.
In 1912 the Democratic platform again declared private monopoly indefensible and intolerable, asked for added legislation to make such monopolies impossible in the United States, favored express declaration of the conditions under which corporations should be permitted to engage in inter-state trade, including “prevention of holding companies, of interlocking directorates, of stock watering, of discrimination in price and of control by any one corporation of so large a proportion of any industry as to make it a menace to competitive conditions.” It charged the Republican administration with compromising with the Standard Oil and the Tobacco companies. This platform Trust plank closed with the following fervent declaration in favor of the most rigid return to the traditional American anti-monopoly doctrine: “We regret that the Sherman anti-trust law has received a judicial construction depriving it of much of its efficacy and we favor the enactment of legislation which will restore to the statute the strength of which it has been deprived by such interpretation.”
The Republican plank, after restating the 1908 ideas, declared for provisions that “no part of the field of business opportunity may be restricted by monopoly or combination."
The Progressive platform, alone of all party platforms since the Trust question became a theme for platform rhetoricals, declared for a distinction between good and bad trusts, with adequate administrative machinery to enforce fair dealing by the tolerated great combinations. It was a new campaign doctrine to declare: “We do not fear commercial power, but we insist that it shall be exercised openly, under publicity, supervision, and regulation of the most efficient sort, which will preserve its good while eradicating and preventing its
The Democrats, restored to power in the election which followed, passed the Federal Trade Commission Act and the Clayton Act. The Trade Commission Act provided for the supervising and investigating machinery, need for which had prompted the establishment of the Bureau of Corporations in 1903 and declarations for which had been made both in 1908 and in 1912 by Republicans and Democrats alike and in 1912 also by Progressives. The Clayton Act enacted into law the Democratic demands of 1912 for abolishing certain questionable practices of combinations and for making private monopoly impossible in the United States. These two important acts are given in full in the Appendices.