Crown Cargo

The Sherman Act of 1890

July 10, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

One of the most complicated, and controversial, pieces of legislation from the turn of the 20th century was the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890. It was written in response to several important events at the time, all of which affected the direction the country and the economy was headed.
Standard Oil had become accustomed to the practice of offering rebates to railroads, which helped lessen the costs of transportation for the railroad and improved their profit margins. Because Standard Oil had grown so massive so quickly, the company was sitting on a large cash reserve and able to absorb some of the hit.
At the time, and today to some extent, it was popular for large businesses to hold multiple properties in a trust. Those trusts were criticized by journalists and detractors as schemes for price fixing. Standard Oil represented a good example of why. The company was exercising its rights within the system of free capitalism, but those rights threatened to disrupt competition in the market. Economists argue whether more or less regulation was the solution, but the Federal Government, specifically Senator John Sherman, was concerned that this practice was granting Standard Oil an unfair advantage over its competition.
Congress had already attempted to enact antitrust legislation before, which Sherman had helped to write, but he was never concerned with the concept of trusts. The Sherman Act focused on the “unfair advantage” aspect. He sought to make it illegal for companies to create an environment that naturally favored their interests, which he felt would create a monopolistic climate.

The Impact of the Erie Canal

July 6, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

By Phineas Upham

The Erie Canal was an intense undertaking for the city of New York, and one that would pay off all throughout the early to mid 20th century, and even beyond into the modern age. Building the canal required an incredible amount of labor, and the clearing of what was essentially a virgin forest. The impact of all that effort was far reaching and long lasting.

Economic Impacts

The Canal was primarily envisioned as a way to make transport of goods by horse an obsolete practice. Horses could only carry about 250 lbs worth of goods, so the Canal would enable transport by boat. The hope was to open up the West to goods from the east coast and expand trade as well. With the Canal, boats could easily move around the East coast and deliver goods at will.

Immigration Impacts

The Canal was an important part of immigrant life for that time. It was a major source of employment, as many Irish workers found out, and it would later become an important source of information for genealogists. Those who rode the canal to and from work had to log their names into a book, so it became easy to use these public records in order to identify past family members.

Other Impacts

The Canal was completed around the same time as the British Corn Law was repealed, which gave the Midwest of America the opportunity to export corn and grain overseas. This had the unintended effect of strengthening ties between England and the US.

About the Author: Phineas Upham is an investor at a family office/ hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Phin Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media and Telecom group. You may contact Phin on his Phineas Upham website or Twitter page.