Interstate Commerce Act

(1887)

Impact

The Interstate Commerce Act of 1887 was the first successful attempt to federally regulate industry in America. It specifically targeted the railroad industry and its interstate commerce practices by attempting to federally control and standardize that industry's traffic across state lines. It served as a model for future regulatory legislation, as the Interstate Commerce Commission likewise served as a model for governmental regulatory agencies. It was not long before the concept of “interstate commerce” was expanded to include much more than the transportation of goods and people across state lines. By the early twentieth century that definition grew to include motor vehicle regulations; water transportation; trucking and other interstate carriers; issues concerning railroad labor; child labor; means of communication, such as the telegraph, telephone, and cable lines; oil pipelines; aviation; and racial discrimination on and in transportation lines or terminals....

Image for: Interstate Commerce Act

The Interstate Commerce Act (National Archives and Records Administration)

View Full Size