Clayton Antitrust Act


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Since the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890, courts in the United States had interpreted the law on cartels as applying against trade unions. This had created a problem for workers, who needed to organize to balance the equal bargaining power against their employers. The Sherman Act had also triggered the largest wave of mergers in US history, as businesses realized that instead of creating a cartel they could simply fuse into a single corporation, and have all the benefits of market power that a cartel could bring. At the end of the Taft administration, and the start of the Woodrow Wilson administration, a Commission on Industrial Relations was established. During its proceedings, and in anticipation of its first report on October 23, 1914, legislation was introduced by Alabama Democrat Henry De Lamar Clayton Jr. in the U. S. House of Representatives. The Clayton Act passed by a vote of 277 to 54 on June 5, 1914. Though the Senate passed its own version on September 2, 1914, by a vote of 46–16, the final version of the law (written after deliberation between Senate and the House), did not pass the Senate until October 5 and the House until October 8 of the next year.