Federal Regulation of the Railroads in U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt’s Second Term (1905-1909): Introduction

President Roosevelt & the Railroads
President Theodore Roosevelt &  the Railroads

During President Theodore Roosevelt’s terms in office (09/14/1901—03/04/1909), a prominent national political issue was whether and how the federal government should regulate corporations acting in interstate commerce, especially the railroads.

Prior posts reviewed this issue during Roosevelt’s “first” term (1901-1905) with respect to the Northern Securities antitrust case and the enactment of the Elkins Act regarding railroad freight rebates.

The major developments on this issue in the second term (1905-1909) were congressional enactment in 1906 of the Hepburn Act regarding railroad freight rates and continued public debate over such regulation with the Financial Panic of 1907 in the background. These topics will be discussed in subsequent posts. A major participant in this debate was William Carlos Brown, then Senior Vice President of the New York Central Railway and my maternal great-great uncle.