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.”

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Political Parties
Jan. 06, 2023  Dark Money
Mar. 25, 2022  The Democrats' Future
Apr. 30, 2021  The GOP's Future
Oct. 13, 2017  Future of the Democratic Party
Sep. 09, 2016  Populism and Party Politics
Nov. 14, 2014  Nonprofit Groups and Partisan Politics
Oct. 24, 2014  Future of the GOP
Feb. 28, 2014  Polarization in America
Mar. 19, 2010  Tea Party Movement Updated
Mar. 20, 2009  Future of the GOP
Jun. 08, 2007  Democrats in Congress
Apr. 30, 2004  The Partisan Divide
Dec. 22, 1995  Third-Party Prospects
Jan. 11, 1985  Post-1984 Political Landscape
Nov. 09, 1984  Democratic Revival in South America
Sep. 14, 1984  Election 1984
Dec. 19, 1980  Future of the Democratic Party
Sep. 29, 1978  New Right in American Politics
Jan. 04, 1974  Future of Conservatism
May 03, 1972  The New Populism
Feb. 02, 1956  Foreign Policy in Political Campaigns
Dec. 22, 1954  Divided Government
Aug. 04, 1952  Two-Party System
Jun. 06, 1952  Party Platforms
Sep. 05, 1951  Southern Democrats and the 1952 Election
Oct. 06, 1948  Voting in 1948
Aug. 27, 1948  Republicans and Foreign Policy
Jul. 16, 1947  Third Party Movements
Aug. 22, 1940  Political Realignments
Jan. 13, 1938  The G. O. P. and the Solid South
Jul. 22, 1936  Third Party Movements in American Politics
Jul. 07, 1936  The Monopoly Issue in Party Politics
Nov. 12, 1935  Party Platforms and the 1936 Campaign
May 18, 1934  Political Trends and New Party Movements
Jan. 13, 1932  National Party Platforms, 1832–1932
May 16, 1928  Third Party Movements
Jan. 21, 1928  Major Party Platforms 1924–1928
Nov. 14, 1924  The Election and the Third Party
Sep. 05, 1924  Party Claims and Past Political Complexion of the States
Jun. 25, 1924  Third Party Platforms
Jun. 18, 1924  Thrid Parties: Past and Prospective
Antitrust and Monopolies
Antitrust and Monopolies