The Sherman Antitrust Act 1890
John Sherman (1823–1900)
The Sherman Anti-Trust Act, passed on July 2, 1890, was the first federal law to prohibit monopolistic corporate activities.
The Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890 was the first legislation to abolish trusts in the United States. Senator John Sherman of Ohio, who served as Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and Secretary of the Treasury under President Hayes, was honored with the name. Similar legislation had been established in other states, but they were only applicable to intrastate firms.
The Sherman Antitrust Act was enacted in response to Congress’ constitutional authority to control interstate trade. (See earlier milestone documents: the Constitution, Gibbons v. Ogden, and the Interstate Commerce Act for additional information.) On April 8, 1890, the Senate enacted the Sherman Anti-Trust Act 51–1, and on June 20, 1890, the House passed it unanimously by a vote of 242–0. On July 2, 1890, President Benjamin Harrison signed the measure into law.