Interstate Commerce Act (1887)

Passed by Congress under the Constitution’s Commerce Clause, this Act created the first federal regulatory agency, the Interstate Commerce Commission. The commission was created to prevent certain industry abuses by regulating the economic rights of railroad companies. It banned secret rebates and required that rates be openly published. The Commission also had the power to determine and set “reasonable and just” rates.

The law was largely ineffective until later legislation provided the means for enforcement.