Essay Question #1
What was the Sherman Anti-Trust Act? How was it used during the Presidency of Roosevelt?
During the 19th century the emergence of what we now call the “economy” was born. Prior to 1840 there were really no such thing as “big business”. The first real “big business” was the Railroad. The building of the Railroad Empire and rail lines throughout the United States drastically changed the American way of life. Due to new abilities to travel long distances and communicate at a much faster pace than before, the American economy began to boom.
Competition between Railroad lines was a cutthroat and fierce environment. Railroad executives were in line to become extreme
John Sherman, a lawyer and senator from Ohio, was the author of the legislation that attempted to curb the growth of monopolies. The result of all of the competition between large industry was that the companies turned to Pools, Trusts, and Holding companies for a solution. Steel companies were also experiencing stiff competition. Roosevelt used his Presidency to advance "corporate progressivism". He feared that irresponsibility and greediness would result in social unrest and radical politics causing discord among American citizens and disruption of daily business. The company had recently been involved in a large and bitter stock fight between railroad company owners that had resulted in a railroad monopoly. Not only were the Railroad companies booming but also the steel manufacturing business was working overtime to supply steel for the railroad line. In 1904 President Teddy Roosevelt revitalized the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. Penalties for violation of the act included a 5,000 fine andor a year"tms imprisonment. Due to the vague wording of the act and the lack of a commission willing to enforce the act, it was rarely ever put into use. He ordered government attorneys to file suit against the Northern Securities Company for restraint of trade. Roosevelt chose the Northern Securities Company to make an example of.