Why do so many American constitutions have anti-monopoly clauses?

The Boston Tea Party was a demonstration against a government transportation monopoly that triggered a war. To preempt wars, Constitutions Divided Sovereignty between:

    • The people for all liberties not enumerated as sacrificed.
    • The Federal government for issues of war.
    • The State governments for issues of crimes, civil disputes, commerce, and internal improvements:

Federalist #45:

"The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected. The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State."

What are the anti-monopoly clauses? Examples of State Constitutions, reportedly 34 State Constitutions have such a clause:

  • Arkansas: Article 2, Bill of Rights, 19. "Perpetuities and monopolies. Perpetuities and monopolies are contrary to the genius of a republic, and shall not be allowed; nor shall any hereditary emoluments, privileges or honors ever be granted or conferred in this State."
  • Arizona: Section 15. Monopolies and trusts:  Monopolies and trusts shall never be allowed in this state and no incorporated company, co-partnership or association of persons in this state shall directly or indirectly combine or make any contract, with any incorporated company, foreign or domestic, through their stockholders or the trustees or assigns of such stockholders or with any co-partnership or association of persons, or, in any manner whatever, to fix the prices, limit the production, or regulate the transportation of any product or commodity. The legislature shall enact laws for the enforcement of this section by adequate penalties, and in the case of incorporated companies, if necessary for that purpose, may, as a penalty declare a forfeiture of their franchises.
  • Georgia: Article I, Bill of Rights, Section VI, Paragraph V: "Shall not have the power to authorize any contract or agreement which may have the effect of or which is intended to have the effect of encouraging a monopoly, which is hereby declared to be unlawful and void."
  • Maryland: Article. 41. "That monopolies are odious, contrary to the spirit of a free government and the principles of commerce, and ought not to be suffered."
  • Massachusetts, Article 6: "No man, nor corporation, or association of men, have any other title to obtain advantages, or particular and exclusive privileges."
  • North Carolina: Article 1, Sec. 34. Perpetuities and monopolies. "Perpetuities and monopolies are contrary to the genius of a free state and shall not be allowed."
  • Oklahoma: Article II, Bill of Rights, SECTION II-32. "Perpetuities and monopolies are contrary to the genius of a free government, and shall never be allowed, nor shall the law of primogeniture or entailments ever be in force in this State."
  • Texas: Article 1, Bill of Rights, Sec. 26. PERPETUITIES AND MONOPOLIES; PRIMOGENITURE OR ENTAILMENTS. Perpetuities and monopolies are contrary to the genius of a free government, and shall never be allowed, nor shall the law of primogeniture or entailments ever be in force in this State.
  • Utah: Article XII, Section 20 [Free market system as state policy -- Restraint of trade and monopolies prohibited.] It is the policy of the state of Utah that a free market system shall govern trade and commerce in this state to promote the dispersion of economic and political power and the general welfare of all the people.
  • Wyoming: Art. 1, 30. Monopolies and perpetuities prohibited. "Perpetuities and monopolies are contrary to the genius of a free state, and shall not be allowed. Corporations being creatures of the state, endowed for the public good with a portion of its sovereign powers, must be subject to its control."

Some states put the prohibition of monopolies into laws:

  • South Carolina:SECTION 39-3-10. "Arrangements, contracts, agreements, trusts and combinations adversely affecting competition or price declared against public policy.All arrangements, contracts, agreements, trusts or combinations (a) between two or more persons as individuals, firms or corporations, made with a view to lessen, or which tend to lessen, full and free competition in the importation or sale of articles imported into this State or in the manufacture or sale of articles of domestic growth or of domestic raw material, (b) between persons or corporations designed or which tend to advance, reduce or control the price or the cost to the producer or consumer of any such product or article and (c) between two or more persons as individuals, firms, corporations, syndicates or associations that may lessen or affect in any manner the full and free competition in any tariff, rates, tolls, premium or prices in any branch of trade, business or commerce are declared to be against public policy, unlawful and void."