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Elkins Act


ELKINS ACT. With this 1903 act Congress sought to strengthen the power of the Interstate Commerce Commission to set maximum railroad freight rates. The act required railroads to hold to their published rates and forbade rate cutting and rebates. Railroads favored the act, because it prevented loss of revenue. The Elkins Act also supplemented the Interstate Commerce Act of 1887 by providing more specific methods of procedure and penalties for nonobservance of its provisions. The law provided for prosecution and punishment of railroad corporations, as well as their agents and officers, for giving or receiving rebates and made it a misdemeanor to deviate from published rates.


Eisner, MarcAllen. Regulatory Politics in Transition. 2d ed. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000.

Kolko, Gabriel. Railroads and Regulation, 1877–1916. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1965.

Sanders, Elizabeth. Roots of Reform: Farmers, Workers, and the American State, 1877–1917. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999.

John B.Clark/c. p.

See alsoCommerce, Court of ; Hepburn Act ; Interstate Commerce Commission ; Railroad Rate Law .

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