One of the more “progressive” actions by the Supreme Court during the Progressive Era can be observed in its jurisprudence toward trusts. In the Anti-Trust Cases taking place after the passage of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act of 1890 the Supreme Court struck down dozens of large trusts, most notably in the beef, railroad, tobacco, and oil industries. The federal government prior to these cases rarely involved itself in private business matters but understood that trusts manipulate a Laissez-Faire capitalists style economy by monopolizing control of an industry, effectively eliminating market competition, and enabled them to set prices high in order to maximize profits. Here are some of the landmark cases in which the Supreme Court began to disolve trusts during the Progressive Era:
US v E.C Knight Co (1895): Supreme Court ruled that manufacturing does not fall under the scope of interstate commerce, thus not disolving the trust
Northern Securities Co. v U.S (1904): disolved large railroad trust
Swift and Co. v U.S (1905): Supreme Court ruled that the federal government is able to regulate monopolies if there was a direct impact on commerce which effectively disolved the "beef trust"
Standard Oil Co. of NJ v U.S (1911): disolved large oil trust