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Roosevelt Monopolies Analysis

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Roosevelt was re-elected president of the United States (first time elected) in 1904 partly to break up trusts and monopolies. The public was outraged for decades by the ways trusts and monopolies were cheating in business. Roosevelt felt that the US government was responsible for the falls of many legitimate businesses, because they failed to prosecute trusts and monopolies (Roosevelt 222). As president, Roosevelt pledged to protect small businesses and sue monopolies and trusts by implementing the Sherman Antitrust Act to restore honest commerce and labor conditions. Railroad discrimination continued to exist when Roosevelt came into the presidency after President Mckinley’s assassination. Roosevelt believed that big businesses should…show more content…
Roosevelt, the public, and the railroads shared the commonalities that rates should not be based on shipment size and everyone should pay an uniform rate. Most shippers paid the ‘regular’ price, but favored shippers often got 50-80% discounts. For instance, Utica Dry Goods Merchant paid a rate of 9 cents, when the normal was 33 cents (New York Shipping and Commercial List, August 27, 1879). Other businesses who paid the regular prices felt cheated on, and railroads lost tremendous sums of money giving out rebates. The final Hepburn Committee Report in 1880 stated that railroad shipments obtained much less revenue from oil shipments than they deserved (Hepburn Committee Report, [VI], 40-46). Businesses would also threaten railroads that they would take their businesses elsewhere if they did not receive rebates. A.J. Cassatt, President of Pennsylvania Railroad, wrote letters to Roosevelt, urging him to take action and stop rebates by amending the Interstate Commerce Act of 1887 (an act that was suppose to regulate monopolistic practices, but was not enforced by the government) (Cassatt). Rebates would continue to be given until Roosevelt amended the Interstate Commerce Act in 1902 and passed the Elkins Act in 1903. Roosevelt broke up monopolies and trusts because businesses and people were urging him
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