Revenge: John Sherman, Russell Alger and the origins of the Sherman Act

Date
2018
Authors
Newman, Patrick
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Publisher
Springer Nature
Abstract
This paper argues that Senator John Sherman of Ohio was motivated to introduce an antitrust bill in late 1889 partly as a way of enacting revenge on his political rival, General and former Governor Russell Alger of Michigan, because Sherman believed that Alger personally had cost him the presidential nomination at the 1888 Republican national convention. When discussing his bill on the Senate floor and elsewhere, Sherman repeatedly brought up Alger’s relationship, which in reality was rather tenuous, with the well-known Diamond Match Company. The point of mentioning Alger was to hurt Alger’s future political career and his presidential aspirations in 1892. Sherman was able to pursue his revenge motive by combining it with the broader Republican goals of preserving high tariffs and attacking the trusts. As a result, this paper reinforces previous public choice literature arguing that the 1890 Sherman Act was not passed in the public interest, but instead advanced private interests. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR] Copyright of Public Choice is the property of Springer Nature and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. This abstract may be abridged. No warranty is given about the accuracy of the copy. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract. (Copyright applies to all Abstracts.)
Description
Keywords
Antitrust law, Conflict of interests, Competition (Psychology)
Citation
Newman, P. (2018). Revenge: John Sherman, Russell Alger and the origins of the Sherman Act. Public Choice, 174(3/4), 257–275. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11127-017-0497-x
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