Law Dictionary

Hepburn Act

Law formerly 49 U.S.C. § 1 et seq. (1906)
  1. created the first of the government's regulatory commissions. The Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) was established in 1887 to oversee trade on the interstate railways but weakened by an 1897 Supreme Court decision. By the early 1900s, public demand for effective national regulation of interstate railroad rates had grown enough to allow President Theodore Roosevelt to undertake a personal campaign to have new legislation passed. The resulting Hepburn Act greatly enlarged the ICC's jurisdiction and forbade railroads to increase rates without its approval. This and similar acts laid the basis for the modern concept of consumer protection through government regulation.


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