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REPUBLICAN EXECUTION OF THE LAW VS. DEMOCRATIC
AGITATION TO CREATE PREJUDICE. Attitude of the Two Parties.—The attitude of the two great parties on the trust question is clearly defined. That of the Democratic party looks to constant agitation, with no restrictive legislation; that of the Republican party to such restriction as will prevent arbitrary advance in prices or reduction in wages through exclusive control, but not the destruction by legislation or injury by fictitious agitation of legitimate enterprise through great manufacturing systems by which production is cheapened, prices of manufacturers reduced, and permanency of employment assured.
As far back as the Fiftieth Congress the Democrats began their agitation for effect by the passage of a resolution authorizing the House Committee on Manufactures to enter upon an investigation of the trusts of the United States. Such distinguished Democratic leaders as Representative Wilson, of West Virginia, Representative Breckinridge, of Arkansas, Representative Bynum, of Indiana, and Representative Bacon, of New York, were members of the committee, and they were given power to administer oaths, examine witnesses, compel the attendance of persons and the production of papers, and make their investigation a thorough one. More than 100 witnesses, including H. A. Havemeyer and Claus Spreckles, of sugar fame, Mr. Rockefeller, Mr. Flagler, and others of the Standard Oil Company, and representatives of the cotton bagging trust and whisky trust were examined. A thousand pages of testimony were taken, and the committee delayed its report until one day before the expiration of the Congress, when it presented its testimony, but made no recommendation as to legislation, “owing to the present difference of opinion between members of the committee.”
In the Fifty-second Congress the House Judiciary Committee made another investigation, and after an examination of many witnesses, submitted a report in which it declared that "None of the methods employed by the trust in controlling the production or disposition of their products are in violation of the United States laws,” and that “it is clearly settled that the production or manufacture of that which may become a subject of interstate commerce and ultimately pass into protected trade is not commerce, nor can manufactures of any sort be instruments of commerce within the meaning of the Constitution.” In 1894 they again grappled with the trust problem, adding to the Wilson-Gorman tariff law a
series of provisions purporting to authorize the regulation of trusts, but which neither the Democratic President nor the Demo· cratic officials who were in power when the act came into existence made, so far as is known, any attempt to put into operation.
Record of the Republican Party.-The record of the Republican party on this question is consistent, performance following profession. The Republican party from its organization has sought to protect both labor and capital as the two great forces of our civilization. Under the administration of this party these two forces have received protection, and in organization they have been on parallel lines. The greater the development of each the nearer they have come to working in harmony upon scientific wage scales and agreements as to business management.
The trust or corporation is not of Federal origin due to any legislation by Congress or Executive act in the administration of Federal laws. They are all of State origin, incorporated under State laws and beyond national control when confined to those States. The only power the Federal Government has to reach these trusts or corporations is where they cross State lines and touch interstate or foreign commerce. The Republican party has tried to enact laws that would prevent the trusts from interfering with interstate commerce.
William McKinley, as chairman of the Committee on Platform in the National Republican Convention of 1888, reported the first antitrust resolution that was adopted as a plank in a party platform. That resolution was as follows:
"We declare our opposition to all combinations of capital organized in trusts or otherwise to control arbitrarily the conditions of trade among our citizens; and we recommend to Congress and the State legislatures in their respective jurisdictions, such legislation as will prevent the execution of all@schemes to oppress the people by undue charges on their supplies, or by unjust rates for the transportation of their products to market. We approve the legislation by Congress to prevent alike unjust burdens and unfair discrimination between the States."
In his first message to the Fifty-first Congress President Harrison, mindful of that plank in his platform, made the following recommendation:
"Earnest attention should be given by Congress to a consideration of the question how far the restraint of these combinations of capital commonly called “trusts” is a matter of Federal jurisdiction. When organized, as they often are, to crush out all healthy competition and to monopolize the production for sale of an article of commerce and general necessity, they are dangerous conspiracies
against the public good, and should be made the subject of prohibitory and even penal legislation."
Sherman Anti-Trust Law. The first bill introduced in the Senate of the Fifty-first Congress was the anti-trust bill by Senator John Sherman, of Ohio. It declared illegal 'every combination in the form of trust or otherwise, or conspiracy in restraint of trade or commerce among the several States or with foreign nations, and it provided severe penalties. It passed the Republican Senate. When William McKinley, as a member of the Committee on Rules, reported to the House, May 1, 1890, a special rule for the immediate consideration of this anti-trust bill, the Democrats opposed him and voted against the rule. Carlisle of Kentucky, Bland of Missouri, Springer of Ilinois, Richardson of Tennessee, McCreary of Kentucky, and Wilson of West Virginia, opposed the rule and the bill as the wrong way to deal with the trusts. Mr. William L. Wilson, who later became the Democratic leader in the House and the author of the Wilson tariff bill, made a long speech in which he said:
“Now, sir, here again is a bill dealing with a novel and most important question, a bill that is a new departure in Federal legislation, bristling with pains and penalties, denouncing a new class of crimes, and imposing prohibitions and penalties on many acts not now illegal and some perhaps not properly punishable. Here is a bill that may derange the course of trade among the States that will bring doubt and uncertainty in many lines of business, both of production and distribution in the country. * A bill seriously affecting the business and prosperity of the country, and, what is more, the rights and liberties of the people. Was ever criminal law made in this fashion before? And who are to be the first victims that must be fined and sent to the penitentiary, in order that the courts may interpret and declare what are the crimes which we punish but do not define.
The States, not Congress, grant the charters for these corporations. It is at once their duty, as it is easily and clearly within the sphere of their lawful power, to supervise the creatures which they bring into being, so as to prevent the franchises granted by the people being used for the oppression and detriment of the people.”
Mr. Wilson then proceeded to argue that free trade was the only means by which the Federal Government could deal with the trusts. That was the position of the Democrats in the Fifty-first Congress which passed the Sherman anti-trust bill and made it a law. The Democrats did not vote against the bill, but they did everything possible to prevent its consideration. The bill finally passed both branches of Congress, which were Republican, and was signed by President Ilarrison, July 2, 1890. It is a law placed on
the statute books by the Republican party. It was a new de. parture, but the Republican party has made many new departures when necessary. The Harrison Administration enforced this law.
Action Under the Law.—The first case brought was in October, 1890, against the Jellico Mountain Coal and Coke Company in Ken. tucky. The owners of Kentucky coal mines and the coal dealers in Nashville, Tenn., formed a combination whereby the Nashville dealers should sell coal at the same price to be fixed by the combination. The United States brought' suit under the trust act. At the final hearing the defendants were enjoined. The Cleveland Administration did not have remarkable success in presenting the trusts under this law. The three conspicuous decisions were against labor organizations, not against combinations of capital. These were against the employees and draymen in New Orleans, who refused to handle goods for the warehousemen of that city; against the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, declaring a section of their rules in violation of the trust act, and in the Debs case declaring hat combinations of labor in res aint of trade is forbidden by the trust act. The Cleveland Adininistration failed to restrain any combination of capital by use of this law. President Cleveland in his last annual message to Congress expressed the opinion that the Federal Government could not suppress the evils of trusts, and he looked to the State legislatures for the only possible relief.
McKinley's Recommendation.-President McKinley had the tariff to deal with in his first message, and the Cuban question in his next. But in his first message to the Fifty-sixth Congress he took up the trust question and discussed it at length. He made this pointed and forcible recommendation:
"It is úniversally conceded that combinations which engross or control the market of any particular kind of merchandise or commodity necessary to the general community, by suppressing natural and ordinary competition, whereby prices are unduly enhanced to the general consumer, are obnoxious not only to the common law but also to the public welfare. There must be a remedy for the evils involved in such organizations. If the present law can be extended more certainly to control or check these monopolies or trusts, it should be done without delay. Whatever power Congress possesses over this most important subject should be promptly ascertained and asserted.”
Proposed Republican Legislation.-Two measures were proposed by the Republicans of the Fifty-sixth Congress. The first was an amendment to the Constitution. It was as follows:
"SECTION 1. All powers conferred by this article shall extend to the several States, the Territories, the District of Columbia, and
all territories under the sovereignty and subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.
"SEC. 2. Congress shall have power to define, regulate, control, prohibit, or dissolve trusts, monopolies, or combinations, whether existing in the form of a corporation or otherwise.
“The several States may continue to exercise such power in any manner not in conflict with the laws of the United States.
“Sec. 3. Congress shall have power to enforce the provisions of this article by appropriate legislation.”
Democratic Opposition.--That joint resolution for an amendment to the Constitution was reported to the House from the Committee on Judiciary May 21, 1900, and Mr. Richardson, of Tennessee, the Democratic leader, objected to its consideration. May 31 the Committee on Rules reported a rule for the immediate consideration of the resolution, the debate to continue through the day and the vote to be taken June 1. All the Democrats voted against the adoption of the rule. It was adopted by Republican votes, and in the debate the Democratic leaders like Bailey of Texas, Richardson of Tennessee, and others, spoke against the proposed amendment. The Democrats voted against it on the roll call and it failed to pass because there was not the necessary two-thirds vote of the House to pass a constitutional amendment. The vote was 154 yeas, 132 nays, 11 answered “present,” and 56 not voting. The vote was as follows:
Yeas--Adams, Aldrich, Alexander, Allen (Me.), Babcock, Bailey (Kans.), Baker, Barney, Bartholdt, Bingham, Bishop, Boering, Boutell (Ill.), Į versock, Brick, Brosius, Brown, Burke (S. Dak.), Burkett, Bu..ngh, Burton, Butler, Calderhead, Çampbell, Cannon, Clarke (N. H.), Cochrane (N. Y.), Connell, Cooper (Wis.), Corliss, Cousins, Cromer, Crumpacker, Curtis, Cushman, Dahle (Wis.), Dalzell, Davenport S. A., Davidson, Dick, Dolliver, Eddy, Emerson, Esch, Faris, Fletcher, Foss, Fowler, Freer, Gardner (Mich.), Gardner (N. J.), Gibson, Gill, Gillett (N. Y.), Gillett (Mass.), Graff, Graham, Weene (Mass.), Grosvenor, Grout, Hamilton, Haugen, Hawley, Heatwole, Hedge, Hemenway, Henry (Conn.), Hepburn, Hill, Hit, Hoffecker, Howell, Hull, Jack, Jones (Wash.), Joy, Kahn, Ketcham, Knox, Lacey, Lane, Lawrence, Littlefield, Long, Lorimer, Loudenslager, Lovering, Lybrand, McCleary, McPherson, Marsh, Mercer, Mesick, Metcalf, Miller, Minor, Mondell, Moody (Mass.), Moody (Oreg.), Morgan, Mudd, Naphen, Needham, Newlands, O'Grady, Olmsted, Otjen, Overstreet, Parker (N. J.), Payne, Pearce (Mo.), Pearre, Phillips, Prince, Pugh, Ray (N. Y.), Reeder, Reeves, Roberts, Rodenberg, Russell, Scudder, Shattuc, Shelden, Sherman, Showalter, Sibley, Smith, H. C., Smith, Samuel W., Spalding, Sperry, Steele, Stevens (Minn.), Stewart (N. Y.), Stewart,