National Constitution CenterCenturies of Citizenship: A Constitutional Timeline Exhibit
  National Constitution Center Home  
   
  Constitutional
Timeline Home
 
 


Era Overviews

 
  1765-1786  
  1787-1790  
  1791-1824  
  1825-1849  
  1850-1865  
  1866-1885  
  1886-1906 >  
  1907-1930  
  1931-1946  
  1947-1954  
  1955-1969  
  1970-1987  
  1987-  
   
  Help  
   
  Credits  
   
   
     




< Previous Event | Back to Timeline | Next Event >

You are viewing the low-bandwidth version of the Constitutional Timeline. View the broadband version.

1886-1906: We encounter prosperity and its perils in an industrial age

October 25, 1886
The railroads win: states can’t interfere with interstate commerce

Northern Pacific steam locomotive

“Freedom of commerce among the states…was deemed essential to a more perfect union by the framers of the Constitution.”
–Justice Samuel F. Miller
Wabash v. Illinois

Railroads are spreading across our country, coast to coast. Now, the railroads say, a patchwork of local regulations stands in their way—and violates the Constitution.

The Supreme Court agrees. Ruling against Illinois, the Court says the Constitution gives Congress the power to regulate interstate commerce. So states like Illinois can’t put a limit on the railroads’ rates for shipping goods out of state.

Farmers and local businessmen, who say those state laws protected them, grumble that this decision gives the railroads too much power.

Read about it in the New York times

< Previous Event | Back to Timeline | Next Event >


You are viewing the low-bandwidth version. View the broadband version (Flash plug-in and broadband connection required)

 

Home | Feedback | Site Map
525 Arch Street, Independence Mall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19106 ph.215.409.6600
Content Copyright 2006, National Constitution Center. Terms of Use and Privacy Policy