Rough Draft: The Hepburn Act: Rough Draft

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The Hepburn Act: Rough Draft
In the early 1900s, there were approximately 250,000 miles of railroad track. These tracks were often regulated by corporations that had no concern for the citizens that were directly affected by the railroad. Imagine taking a train to go visit your family in the next state over; this sounds completely harmless in the modern time, but in the past, the passengers had to worry about their safety and the outrageously unfair travel rates. What our country needed during that era was a change in the world of transportation. The Hepburn Act was beneficial because it extended the jurisdiction of railroads including Europe, added safety regulations to transportation, as well as made the transportation rates fair. The
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Accordingly, this gave the citizens fair rates for travel and took away the free passes given to loyal shipping companies. The ICC’s authority not only covered railroad cars, but also ferries, express companies, oil pipelines, and national bridges. Railroad rates were often very discriminatory; the ICC eliminated the idea of discrimination amongst the railroad rates. The ICC created a lot of opportunities for the companies, yet consequently took away the many unorthodox practices. The commission had a tight grip of the many railroad companies and their leaders. According to an article on, “Railroads were required to submit annual reports to the IC, which therefore employed professional staff to examine railroad accounts.” This explains how the ICC not only made the railroad business fair for others, it also created many jobs, which were very hard to come by in the early 1900’s. The Hepburn Act practically gave the ICC all the power over the railroad industry. They began to create hundreds of rules and regulations that they expected the companies to follow. Of course, there were a few actions taking place behind the scenes that were against the regulations, but for the most part the ICC had the companies on a very short …show more content…
In fact, he personally put forth the effort to get the act passed. According to, “Roosevelt moved much more aggressively after his 1904 election. Public demand for effective national regulation of interstate railroad road rates were growing since the Supreme Court had emasculated the ICC rate making authority in the 1890’s.” Roosevelt wanted the people to have reasonable rates for railroads, ferries, etc. He pushed to get the Hepburn Act approved in its early stages. The steps leading up to the Hepburn Act involved the passing of the ICC Act in 1887. This act gave the ICC limited control over the federal regulations, unlike the Hepburn Act that eventually gave the ICC full control. Roosevelt won over the people by promising the regulation over rates, but he also began to gain the support of the railroad companies. According to The Progressive Era by LIFE, “by promising not to advocate major changes in the tariff, Roosevelt obtained a quid pro quo from the speaker in the form of a pledge of support for the railroad rate measures.” (LIFE pg. 405) Roosevelt’s debate on the tariff was dangerous, because it could have cause a complete division in the republican party if it was left

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