Clayton Antitrust Act

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The Clayton Antitrust Act of 1914 (Pub.L. 63-212, 38 Stat. 730, enacted October 15, 1914, codified at 15 U.S.C. § 1227, 29 U.S.C. § 5253), was enacted in the United States to add further substance to the U.S. antitrust law regime by seeking to prevent anticompetitive practices in their incipiency. That regime started with the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890, the first Federal law outlawing practices considered harmful to consumers (monopolies ,cartels, and trusts). The Clayton act specified particular prohibited conduct, the three-level enforcement scheme, the exemptions, and the remedial measures.

Passed during the Wilson administration, the legislation was first introduced by Alabama Democrat Henry De Lamar Clayton, Jr. in the U.S. House of Representatives, where the act passed by a vote of 277 to 54 on June 5, 1914. Though the Senate passed its own version on September 2, 1914 by a vote of 46-16, the final version of the law (written after deliberation between Senate and the House), did not pass the Senate until October 5 and the House until October 8 of the same year.

Like the Sherman Act, much of the substance of the Clayton Act has been developed and animated by the U.S. courts, particularly the Supreme Court.

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Background

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