Saturday, May 10, 2003

Ohio Moments


John Sherman fought business monopolies

On May 10, 1823, John Sherman, U.S. senator from Ohio and author of the federal Anti-Trust Act that was named for him, was born in Lancaster, Ohio.

The younger brother of the famous Civil War Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman, John, an attorney, also served in the U.S. House of Representatives, as secretary of the treasury under Rutherford B. Hayes and as secretary of state under William McKinley. But his legacy is the Anti-Trust Act.

Passed by Congress in 1890, the act was written to combat the work of another Ohioan - John D. Rockefeller, owner of Standard Oil in Cleveland. Rockefeller had bought many of his competitors and, in 1882, formed the Standard Oil Trust, which monopolized oil production.

Public discontent was such that by 1888 the trust was a campaign issue. The Sherman Anti-Trust Act, which prohibited trusts and monopolies, was passed by a 51-1 vote in the Senate and by a unanimous vote of 242-0 in the House of Representatives.

Rebecca Goodman

E-mail rgoodman@enquirer.com or call (513) 768-8361.




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