Sherman Anti Trust Act


Sherman Anti Trust Act Essay, Research Paper

United States

The U.S. Supreme Court case of Swift and Company v. United States (1905) dealt

with the applicability of the Sherman Anti-trust act to monopolistic businesses in the

meat-packing industry. A number of companies in different states were charged with

coming together to hold back trade in livestock and in the sale of meat. Specifically, they

were charged with price fixing, blacklisting, rigging cartage and railroad rates, and

restricting shipments of meat. The companies argued that, even if the charges were true,

all of the practices had occurred within a single state and were not a part of interstate



This case has alot to do with the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. The Sherman Anti-Trust

Act is one of the great landmarks in the development of the U.S. government-business

restraint and monopoly of trelationship, the Sherman Anti-Trust Act of 1890 was decided

by Congress to prohibit

trusts and combinations in stopping trade or commerce among states or with foreign

nations. The act, named for Senator John Sherman, was the first federal law made to deal

with what was seen as a growing centralization of economic power by monopolistic

corporations . The Department of Justice enforces the act, although private parties also

may bring actions under the act.

A unanimous court, led by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., made the Sherman

act able to be used to back the charges made. Holmes maintained that although the

rade took place within a single state, the “effect upon

commerce among the states is not accidental, secondary, remote or merely probable.” It

had a direct effect on commerce across state lines and therefore came within the authority

of Congress and of the Sherman act. This case revived the Sherman act, which had been

made after a ruling in the united states vs. E.C. Knight Company case in 1895. It also

became an important example for future regulation of local matters, which although are

not usually commerce, are a vital part of the movement of goods across state lines.

The defendants in this case were charged with ten specific charges. The first was

they would go to cities such as Chicago, Omaha, St. Paul, Kansas City, St.Joseph, and

East St. Louis and buy live stock. Then they would take it back to their respective plants

in other states and slaughter the live stock to sell for human consumption. The second

charge is that the defendants were transporting the meat by several railroad companies to

different cities, states and some foreign countries and saying that the meat was processed

in the same city in which it was sold. The third charge was the defendants were using

agents in principal markets in other states and countries to sell to consumers and dealers.

The forth charge is that the defendants hold about six tenths of all regulated sale of meats

in the United States. The fifth charge was for deceiving the government and people by

acting as competitors while in reality the were a collective unit, therefor avoiding charges

of monopolizing the market. The sixth charge was in order to stop competition amongst

themselves in purchasing live stock the defendants have and intend to continue to make

deals to help not bid against each other resulting in the live stock owners to sell at lower

prices then they would receive if the bidding was actually competitive. The seventh charge

was, for the same purposes as the sixth charge, The defendants work together to bid up,

through their agents, the prices of the live stock. They will only do this so that the market

reports will show prices much higher than the state of trade will warrant, This forces stock

owners in different states to make large shipments, to their disadvantage. The eighth

charge was once again in order to restrain competition amongst themselves and also to

monopolize the commerce protected by law, the defendants combined to arbitrarily from

time to time, raise, lower, and fix prices and to maintain uniform prices at which they will

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