Sherman Anti-trust Act

Sherman Anti-trust Act


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The Sherman Antitrust Act is a landmark federal statute in the history of Unites States antitrust law passed by congress in 1890. It prohibits certain business activities that federal government regulators deem to be anti-competitive, and requires the federal government to investigate and pursue trusts. The law attempts to prevent the artificial raising of prices by restriction of trade or supply. In other words, innocent monopoly, or monopoly achieved solely by merit, is perfectly legal, but acts by a monopolist to artificially preserve his status, or nefarious dealings to create a monopoly, are not. Put it another way, it has sometimes been said that the purpose of the Sherman Act is not to protect competitors, but rather to protect competition and the competitive landscape.

English: John Sherman

Sen. John Sherman, the principal author of the Sherman Antitrust Act.

“The purpose of the Sherman Act is not to protect business from the working of the working of the market; it is to protect the public from the failure of the market. The law directs itself not against conduct which is competitive, even severely so, but against conduct which unfairly tends to destroy competition itself. This focus of U.S. competition law, on protection of competition rather than competitors, is not necessarily the only possible focus or purpose of competition law. For example, it has also been said that competition law in the European Union tends to protect the competitors in the marketplace, even at the expense of market efficiencies and consumers.”


The Sherman Act is divided into three sections.

  • Section 1 delineates and prohibits specific means of anticompetitive conduct
  • 2 deals with end results that are anticompetitive in nature. Thus, these sections supplement each other in an effort to prevent businesses from violating the spirit of the Act, while technically remaining within the letter of the law.
  • Section 3 simply extends the provisions of Section 1 to U.S. territories and the District of Columbia.

What do you think life would be like if it weren’t for the Sherman Anti-trust Act?

I personally think that life would be much more different economy wise.