Sherman Antitrust Act
Growth Of A Trust In The Late Nineteenth Century, What Is A Trust?, Congress Passes The Sherman Antitrust Act Of 1890
Excerpt from the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890
Reprinted from The Statutes at Large and Proclamations of the United States of America from December, 1889, to March, 1891, Vol. XXVI
Published in 1891
Since 1890 the Sherman Antitrust Act has been the key law representing America's commitment to a free market economy. A free market economy, one where competition operates free from private or government restraints, assures the best goods and services at the lowest prices for consumers. The Sherman Antitrust Act outlaws any business "combination" or "conspiracy" that unreasonably restrains trade or commerce between states and foreign nations.
In the act, restraining trade or commerce means hindering or preventing competition. Agreements or "conspiracies" among competitors to fix prices, rig a bidding process for a contract, or divide up a customer base are all examples of illegal competition. The act also forbids a company to "monopolize or attempt to monopolize" a product or service by using unreasonable or unfair methods. A business monopoly is the complete control over the manufacture and distribution of a product, or control of a service by one company thereby eliminating competition.
For More Information
Hovenkamp, Herbert. Antitrust. St. Paul, MN: West Group, 1999.
Shenefield, John H., and Irwin M. Stelzer. Antitrust Laws: A Primer. Washington, DC: AEI Press, 2001.
The Statutes at Large and Proclamations of the United States of America from December 1889 to March 1891, Vol. XXVI. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1891.
"An Antitrust Primer." Federal Trade Commission. http://www.ftc.gov/bc/compguide/antitrst.htm (accessed on August 19, 2004).
"Price Fixing, Bid Rigging, and Market Allocation Schemes: What They Are and What to Look For." U.S. Department of Justice. http://www.usdoj.gov/atr/public/guidelines/primer-ncu.htm (accessed on August 19, 2004).
"Report Possible Antitrust Violations." U.S. Department of Justice: Antitrust Division. http://www.usdoj.gov/atr/contact/newcase.htm (accessed on August 19, 2004).
"The Sherman Act." St. Olaf College. http://www.stolaf.edu/people/becker/antitrust/statutes/sherman.html (accessed on August 19, 2004).
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