Valentine Anti-Trust Act
In 1898, the Ohio government implemented the Valentine Anti-Trust Act. This piece of legislation resulted from a government investigation of Ohio's coal, insurance, railroad, and oil industries, among others. The investigation revealed that businesses affiliated with these industries commonly fixed prices and engaged in other practices to increase the companies' profits. The Valentine Anti-Trust Act prohibited price fixing, production limitation, and controlled sales. All of these practices helped businesses by driving up the prices for their products, thus harming the consumer.
The purpose of the Valentine Anti-Trust Act was to spur competition, allowing consumers more choice in the products that they purchased and also driving down products' prices. Many Ohioans welcomed this law's passage, while others, especially people affiliated with the coal, railroad, oil, or insurance industries, vehemently opposed these restrictions. Businessmen easily found ways around the Valentine Anti-Trust Act. They continued to make secret agreements to fix prices and to eliminate competition.
Despite the ineffectiveness of the Valentine Anti-Trust Act, Ohio took an early leadership role in attacking corrupt business practices. Ohio Senator John Sherman introduced the Sherman Antitrust Act in the United States Congress in 1890. This law served as the first serious attempt by the federal government to break up monopolies and trusts. This law, like the Valentine Anti-Trust Act, proved ineffective until the early 1900s, when government officials pursued businessmen engaged in illegal activities more strenuously.