In this connexion, reference should be made to the Anti-Trust Act of 1890, which, by its judicial interpretation, has been held to include railways and to forbid rate agreements between competing carriers.
In his inaugural address (4th March 1909) President Taft announced himself as favouring the maintenance and enforcement of the reforms initiated by President Roosevelt (including a strict enforcement of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, an effective measure for railway rate regulation, and the policy of conservation of natural resources); the revision of the tariff on the basis of affording protection to American manufactures equal to the difference between home and foreign cost of production; a graduated inheritance tax; a strong navy as the best guarantee of peace; postal savings banks; free trade with the Philippine Islands; and mail subsidies for American ships.
During this period he was largely concerned in the enactment of the Anti-Trust Law of 1890, and of the so-called Sherman Act of the same year, providing for the purchase of silver and the issuing of Treasury notes based upon it.
An anti-trust law of 1893 exempted from the definition of trust combinations those formed by producers of agricultural products and live stock, but the Un tied States Supreme Court in 1902 declared the statute unconstitutional as class legislation.
His work in connexion with the drafting of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act and with the Bering Sea controversy attracted attention.