The aim of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act of 1890 was to ensure that the United States maintained a free and competitive marketplace. The broad principles of interstate commerce had been articulated by the drafters of Article I of the U.S. Constitution, but Congress needed to address how to prevent monopolistic business practices from destroying these ideals.

The federal government after the Civil War had actively encouraged private business growth. But big businesses had then turned to creating trusts that unfairly influenced natural supply and ...

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