Railroad Employers During The Civil War

998 Words4 Pages
During the civil war many railroads were built for mass transportation of munitions, men and other war supplies. When the war ended, the privately owned railroad companies turned their services to the public. At the time the railroads were federally unregulated and were free to do as they pleased. As history teaches us, whenever a group of men get unregulated and unsupervised control or power, they will most likely get greedy and abuse it. Such is the case of the railroad owners in the 1880’s. The railroad owners held a natural monopoly in the areas that only they serviced. They used this monopoly to make the public pay high fees for transportation. Since they public had no other railroad to turn to for transportation, their only choice was…show more content…
It made it illegal for railroads to form pools with each other. Pools were arrangements made between two railroads to eliminate competition and make equal high rates. It also made it illegal for companies to give special deals out to anyone. This would stop the railroads from favoring politicians and giving special rates and rebates. Charging more for a short haul then a long haul also became illegal. One of the more important changes the act enforced was the publication of fees. They also couldn’t change the rates without ten days notice. The act also created the ICC, the Interstate Commerce Commission. The commission consisted of 5 people that were chosen by the president and permitted by congress. The commission was able to investigate railroad companies and make sure that they didn’t violate the Interstate Commerce Act. The commission was also the recipient of the annual reports that the railroads would send in. The report contained information about the railroads…show more content…
It allowed farmers to gain more profit from their crop since it cost less to have it transported to the open market now. Since the commission had to deal with civil rights issues when passengers filed complaints, it also had an impact on segregation at the time. For example, the Interstate Commerce Act stated that "undue or unreasonable preference" and "personal discrimination” were forbidden. In the South most railroads had separate facilities and carriages for Blacks. Using the Act the ICC was able to ban segregation on buses and trains in 1962. The ICC also served as a model for later commissions that were formed to regulate something. For example the Federal Trade Commission, the Civil Aeronautics Board, the National Labor Relations Board, the Federal Communications Commission, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission were all based in one way or another on the ICC. It had international impact as well. The creators of the Australian constitution wrote that an Interstate Commerce Commission, modeled after the U.S. ICC, be established. The Interstate Commerce Act of 1887 was an important step in the creation of a stable and fair economy. Without it America’s agriculture, railroads, and federal commissions would all be changed. It affected many people’s lives back then and still to this day. If someone didn’t put the railroad companies in check then we might
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