3 to 5 pm
The Public Utility Idea and the Origins of Modern Business Regulation
William J. Novak, University of Michigan Law School
My paper will cover the historical period from approximately 1877 (the date of Munn v. Illinois and its notable demarcation of corporations “affected with a public interest”) to 1934 (marking the full onset of the New Deal as well as the Supreme Court’s expansive rendering of state regulatory police power in Nebbia v. New York). While most histories of the corporation in the “long” Progressive era justifiably focus primarily on important developments in antitrust law, I want to try to obtain a somewhat different angle of vision on the corporation and democracy in this period by focusing on the development of the progressive idea of the “public service corporation.”
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