The United States Federal antitrust laws is defined under several statutes, as well as by leading judicial precedents. There are three statutes particularly that have shaped the field: the Sherman Antitrust Act, the Clayton Antitrust Acts and the Federal Trade Commission Act. These acts assist in fair and leveled competition that keeps the price of your utility bill, eggs and sugar down. Antitrust laws touches virtually all areas of business and the economy. This body of law, establishes competition and economic principles of free trade, seeks to ensure that corporations compete fairly by banning price-fixing schemes, monopolies and other acts that restrain healthy competition vital to a free market economy. The Sherman Antitrust Act in 1890 was passed to encourage free trade and fair competition. The Federal Trade Commission was created to prevent the use of unfair techniques to compete. While many corporations will do almost anything to gain upper-hand on the competition, it is very important to fully understand antitrust laws so that an individual do not risk their companiesâ€™ integrity while gaining customers. Antitrust laws make it illegal to secretly to restrain trade or commerce in any industry, regardless of size. Often timeâ€™s small businesses fall victim to the unfair business practices of larger businesses, those businesses can be prosecuted for unfairly controlling markets localized in neighborhoods, towns, or cities. The Sherman Act The first federal statute created to control of trade and monopolization was the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890, signed into law by President Benjamin Harrison. The Sherman Antitrust Act is the first law passed by the U.S. Congress to prohibit trusts. It was named after an Ohio Senator John Sherman, who was at the time chairman of the Senate finance committee and the Secretary of the Treasury under President Hayes. Many other states have passed similar laws, but they were limited to intrastate businesses. The Sherman Antitrust Act was based on the constitutional power of Congress to regulate interstate commerce. According to the United States Department of Justice the Sherman Antitrust Act outlaws all contracts, combinations, and conspiracies that unreasonably restrain interstate and foreign trade. This includes agreements among competitors to fix prices, rig bids, and allocate customers, which are punishable as criminal felonies. The Sherman Act also makes it a crime to monopolize any part of interstate commerce. An unlawful monopoly exists when one firm controls the market for a product or service, and it has obtained that market power, not because its product or service is superior to others, but by suppressing competition with anticompetitive conduct. The Act, however, is not violated simply when one firm’s vigorous competition and lower prices take sales from its less efficient competitors; in that case, competition is working properly (Antitrust laws and you n.d.). The Clayton Act Clayton Antitrust Act, 1914, passed by the U.S. Congress as an amendment to clarify and supplement the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890. In the 1912 presidential election all three political parties believed that Congress has been too soft with corporations with the Sherman Act of 1890.
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