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Interstate Commerce Act

During the 1870s, many Americans (particularly farmers) began to resent the apparent stranglehold the railroads exerted over many parts of the country. However, the postwar presidents and many in Congress resisted intervention in economic matters.

Early efforts to bring some form of regulation to the giants were made at the state level, but those measures were later struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court.

In 1887, Congress passed the Interstate Commerce Act which created the Interstate Commerce Commission, the first true federal regulatory agency. It was designed to address the issues of railroad abuse and discrimination and required the following:

  • Shipping rates had to be "reasonable and just"
  • Rates had to be published
  • Secret rebates were outlawed
  • Price discrimination against small markets was made illegal.

Although the law granted the Commission power to investigate abuses and summon witnesses, it lacked the resources to accomplish its lofty goals. Later presidents would assure that reform would not go too far, by appointing pro-railroad commissioners.

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Interstate Commerce Act
The Interstate Commerce Act required that railroads charge fair rates to their customers and make those rates public. This legislation also created the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC), which had the authority to investInterstate Commerce Act required that railroads charge fair rates to their customers and make those rates public. This legislation also created the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC), which had the authority to investigate and prosecute ...
http://www.ohiohistorycentral.org/entry.php?rec=1477

Interstate Commerce Act 1887
. ., That the provisions of this act shall apply to any common carrier or carriers engaged in the transportation of passengers or property wholly by railroad, or partly by railroad and partly by water when both are used, under a common control ...
http://www.historycentral.com/documents/Interstatecommerce.html

Interstate Commerce Act of 1887
Government Year Published: 1887 The Interstate Commerce Act of 1887 Be it enacted..., That the provisions of this act shall apply to any common carrier or carriers engaged in the transportation of passengers or property whoInterstate Commerce Act of 1887 Be it enacted..., That the provisions of this act shall apply to any common carrier or carriers engaged in the transportation of passengers or property wholly by railroad, or ...
http://www.civics-online.org/library/formatted/texts/interstate_commer ...