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  • Explanation of Antitrust Law

    On Our Site

  • Intel Investigated
  • U.S. v Microsoft

  •   The Sherman Antitrust Act

  • The Sherman Antitrust Act
  • The Clayton Antitrust Act
  • Methods of Enforcement
  • A Brief History
  • Mergers Awaiting Approval
  • In the late 1800s, businesses began to gain market dominance by forming anti-competitive agreements. These relationships were called trusts.

    Trusts cut prices drastically in order to drive competitors out of business. Among their other anti-competitive techniques were:

  • Buying out competitors
  • Forcing customers to sign long-term contracts
  • Forcing customers to buy unwanted products in order to receive other goods

    In 1890, Congress responded by passing the Sherman Antitrust Act, which outlawed trusts and prohibited "illegal" monopolies, or monopolies that could be shown to be using their power to squelch competition. In the early 1900s, Congress used the act to break up two such monopolies — the Standard Oil Co. and the American Tobacco Co.

    © Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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