The Monopoly Issue in Party Politics

July 7, 1936

Report Outline
Concentration of Economic Power as Party Issue
Rise of Anti-Trust Issue in American Politics
Pre-War Period of Intense Anti-Trust Agitation
Changing Public Attitude Toward Big Business
Government and Business Under the New Deal

Concentration of Economic Power as Party Issue

While adoption of strong anti-monopoly platform planks by both the Democratic and Republican parties might be expected to remove the question as an issue in the current presidential campaign, present indications point to a contrary conclusion. Incorporation in the Republican platform, upon the insistence of Senator Borah, of a vigorous declaration against monopolies was followed immediately by an address on the problem by President Roosevelt and by a series of official moves that seemed to signify a new-found interest in the subject on the part of the administration. The platform subsequently adopted by the Democrats at Philadelphia rivalled that of the Republicans in denouncing monopolistic power and practices and pledging their extirpation. And in his acceptance speech the President took an even stronger stand against “economic slavery” imposed by “economic royalists.”

The prospect is that campaign speakers of the respective parties will seek to outdo one another in charging dereliction in enforcement of the anti-trust laws by their opponents when in office and in claiming credit for a stern attitude on their own part toward large business combinations. Honors are even are respects the origin of the two principal anti-trust statutes. The Sherman law of 1890 was enacted during a Republican administration, and the Clayton act of 1914 during a Democratic administration. The real monopoly issue in 1936 will thus be centered upon the enforcement policies and records of recent Republican administrations and of the Roosevelt administration.

Comparison of 1936 Anti-Monopoly Platform Planks

The preamble of the Republican platform includes the assertion that “regulated monopoly has displaced free enterprise.” The specific, plank on the question calls “a private monopoly “indefensible and intolerable” and declares that “it menaces and if continued will utterly destroy constitutional government and liberty of the citizen.”

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BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Antitrust and Monopolies
Antitrust and Monopolies