Trust-Busting: Theodore Roosevelt’s Effectiveness in Regulating Big Business

Trust-Busting: Theodore Roosevelt’s Effectiveness in Regulating Big Business

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Before a series of antitrust acts and laws were instituted by the federal government, it was not illegal for businesses to use any means to eliminate competition in late nineteenth-century America. Production technology was now advanced to the point that supply would surpass product demand. As competition in any given market increased, more and more companies joined together in either trusts or holding companies to bring market dominance under their control (Cengage 2). As President Theodore Roosevelt was sworn into office in 1901, he led America into action with forceful government solutions (“Online” 1). Roosevelt effectively regulated offending business giants by the formation of the Department of Commerce and Labor, the Bureau of Corporations, and antitrust lawsuits.
Trusts were essentially agreements between businesses of any certain market to be anti-competitive in relation to one another. The problematic methods and techniques they used included rigorously lowering prices, “buying out competitors, forcing customers to sign long-term contracts, [and] forcing customers to buy unwanted products to receive other goods (“Sherman” 1). For example, financier J. P. Morgan captured the business opportunity presented by the Depression of 1893, which occurred for the same reason as the Depression of 1873—more goods had been produced than could be sold as a result of excessive expansion. Morgan acquired many railroads that had declared bankruptcy (“Domination” 2), as well as buying Andrew Carnegie’s Carnegie Steel in 1901 (Keesee 356).
To differentiate monopolies from trusts, it must be said that single companies were able to form monopolies when in control of “nearly all of one type of product or service… [This] affects the consu...

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...or Christian Schools® 3rd ed., Greenville, SC: Bob Jones UP, 2001. 356. Print.
Ohio History Central. “Trust Busting.” OHC, 1 Jul 2005. Web 03 Oct. 2011.
-Online Highways, LLC. “Business and Industry, the Theodore Roosevelt Administration.” Trust Busting: A Response to Business Concentration. N.d., n. pag. Web. 25 Sept. 2011.
“Processor Editorial Article - Antitrust Laws: Not Just For The Big Boys.” Editorial.Processor 19 Nov. 2004: 27+. Web. 29 Nov. 2011 .
-”Sherman Antitrust Act, The.” WashingtonPost. The Washington Post Company, 1998. Web. 17 Sept. 2011.
-“Theodore Roosevelt’s Square Deal.” The Progressive Era. SparkNotes, n.d. Web. 03 Oct. 2011.
United States. Dept. of Commerce and Labor. Reports of the Department of Commerce and Labor (House Document). U.S. G.P.O. 1903. Web- Digitized 17 Jul. 2008. Web. 03 Oct. 2011. Print.

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