In the late 1880s and early 1890s, the U.S. government stepped in and tried to start regulating the growing number of monopolies. In 1887, Congress passed the Interstate Commerce Act, which outlawed railroad rebates and kickbacks and also established the Interstate Commerce Commission to ensure that the railroad companies obeyed the new laws. The bill was riddled with loopholes, however, and had very little effect. In 1890, Congress also passed the Sherman Anti-Trust Act in an attempt to ban trusts, but this, too, was an ineffective piece of legislation and was replaced with revised legislation in the early 1900s.

Popular pages: The Gilded Age & the Progressive Era (1877–1917)