“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.