Northern Securities Company: The Great Railroad Trust

In 1901, the Northern Securities Company was formed as a holding company in the business-friendly state of New Jersey. The new venture brought together the talents and wealth of J.P. Morgan and James J. Hill on one side and E.H. Harriman on the other. Hill controlled the Northern Pacific and Great Northern Railways, Harriman the Union Pacific. Harriman's efforts to gain an entry to Chicago by acquiring the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy led to an epic battle that led to the Northern Pacific Panic of 1901 and threatened the financial stability of the country.

Deciding that accommodation was preferable to a fight to the death, the erstwhile competitors merged their holdings in the Northern Securities Company. Noting that traffic between Chicago and the Northwest was monopolized, Roosevelt in 1902 ordered Attorney General Philander C. Knox to bring suit, alleging restraint of trade. Morgan and Mark Hanna pleaded personally with the president to halt the action, but to no avail.

In court, Northern Securities attorneys argued that the company did not really engage in interstate commerce, but simply was a stockholder. They further argued that the by allowing the government's position to hold, the Sherman Act's prohibitions would preempt powers reserved reserved under the Constitution to the states.

By the narrowest of margins, five to four, the Supreme Court in 1904 sided with the government and ordered the NSC's breakup. This decision was notable for the following reasons:

  • The Supreme Court reversed a position taken previously in the E.C. Knight case
  • The giant push of E.H. Harriman to consolidate the nation’s railroads was halted
  • Enthusiasm for creating holding companies was dampened
  • Roosevelt’s popularity skyrocketed among the masses.

See other Theodore Roosevelt domestic activity.

Off-site search results for "Northern Securities Company: The Great Railroad Trust"...

UNC Charlotte - J. Murrey Atkins Library - Piedmont and Northern Railway Company Records
... Piedmont and Northern Railway Company Records PIEDMONT AND NORTHERN RAILWAY COMPANY, INC. RECORDS, 1910-1968 UNCC MANUSCRIPT COLLECTION 16 Contents: Collection Information Historical Note Scope and Content Note Series Descriptions and ...

Northern Electric
In 1899, The Bell Telephone Company of Canada purchased a Montréal wire and cable factory which later would be called the Imperial Wire & Cable Company Limited. In 1914, the two companies amalgamated to form The Northern Electric Company Limited ...

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... during the breeding season, but in severe winters they collect in large companies in swamp thickets. In one such locality of about ten acres in extent, I have seen in an hour more than a hundred birds. Considerable numbers are trapped and sold .

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