chapter  4
32 Pages

Reversing Course: American Attitudes about Monopolies, 1607-1890

ByEric Daniels

The history of monopolies in America is the story of a great struggle. he conflict over monopolies began in seventeenth-century England, continued in the American colonies, and contributed to the American Revolution. The concept of monopoly dates to the custom of monarchs granting exclusive privileges as a means of increasing the royal power and revenue. While anti-monopoly sentiment grew in England, the crown's trading monopolies in the New World bred fresh conflicts. The concept of monopoly and resistance to government coercion played a vital role in the American Revolution. Monopoly properly understood makes the historical case against antitrust law quite clear. The antitrust law relies on conflating free economic transactions and forced compliance with government dictates. Rescuing successful, virtuous businesses from the ravages of antitrust would finally restore the centuries-long struggle to defeat the real government-imposed coercive monopolies and would provide us with a proper definition of monopoly-one which should never have included private businesses.