The History of the Antitrust Laws

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In the 1800’s there were several businesses known as trusts. These “trusts” owned the entire industry. Railroads, sugar, oil, and steel were some of the major products that were controlled by these trusts. U.S. Steel and Standard Oil were two big companies that were famous for controlling their product and the industry it was a part of.

The oil industry was an easy industry to be monopolized because the deposits were rare. The Standard Oil Company was incorporated by John D. Rockefeller in Ohio in 1870. At the time, the refining business was highly competitive, and Standard Oil had more than 250 competitors. Rockefeller and his associates took advantage of both the scarcity of oil and the returns produced from it to lay down a monopoly, with no help from the banks. The industry practices and questionable strategy that Rockefeller used to form Standard Oil made the Enron mass feel ashamed, but the completed product was not near as harmful to the market or the environment as the industry was previous to Rockefeller monopolizing it.

There once were a lot of oil companies competing to make the most of their find. Companies would pump waste products into the rivers or on the ground because it cost too much for research on how to dispose of it properly. They also slashed costs by pumping through poor pipelines that were famous for seepage. Standard Oil eventually owned 90% of oil production and distribution in the United States, and they had learned how to make money off of their waste products. Vaseline was one of many of the new products formed.

Andrew Carnegie went a lengthy way in producing a monopoly in the steel industry U.S. Steel, a gigantic corporation nearly reaching the magnitude of Standard Oil. U.S. Steel ...

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Sherman Anti-Trust Act. LawBrain. http://lawbrain.com/wiki/Sherman_Anti-Trust_Act

Clayton Act. LawBrain. http://lawbrain.com/wiki/Clayton_Act

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Herbert Hovenkamp. Sherman Antitrust Act (1890). Enotes. Major Acts of Congress, ©2004 Gale Cengage. http://www.enotes.com/sherman-antitrust-act-1890-101422-reference/sherman-antitrust-act-1890
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