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Northern Securities Co. v. United States

Northern Securities Co. v. United States
Argued December 14–15, 1903
Decided March 14, 1904
Full case name Northern Securities Company, et al., Appts. v. United States
Citations 193 U.S. 197 (more)
Court membership
Case opinions
Majority Harlan, joined by Day, Brown, McKenna
Concurrence Brewer
Dissent Holmes, joined by Fuller, White, Peckham
Laws applied
Sherman Antitrust Act

Northern Securities Co. v. United States, 193 U.S. 197 (1904), was a case heard by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1903. The Court ruled 5 to 4 against the stockholders of the Great Northern and Northern Pacific railroad companies, who had essentially formed a monopoly, and to dissolve the Northern Securities Company.


  • Facts 1
  • Judgment 2
  • Significance 3
  • Notes 4
  • External links 5


In 1904, Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad (CB&Q).[1] The Burlington served a traffic-rich region of the Midwest and Great Plains, was well-managed, and quite profitable. It possessed a finely-engineered line connecting the Twin Cities to the nation's rail center of Chicago, which made it particularly attractive as an addition to Hill's Great Northern.

Hill's strategy was for his railroad and Morgan's

  • Text of Northern Securities Co. v. United States, 193 U.S. 197 (1904) is available from:  Findlaw  Justia 

External links

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Solomon, Brian. Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway. St. Paul, Minn.: MBI Publishing, 2005, p. 51.


Hill was forced to disband his holding company and manage each railroad independently.[1] The Northern Pacific, Great Northern, and Chicago, Burlington and Quincy finally merged in 1969.[1]



Alarmed by Harriman's actions, Hill created a holding company—the Northern Securities Company—to control all three of the railroads. The public was greatly alarmed by the formation of Northern Securities, which threatened to become the largest company in the world and monopolize railroad traffic in the western United States.[1] President William McKinley, however, was not willing to pursue antitrust litigation against Hill.[1] McKinley was assassinated, however, and his progressive Vice-President, Theodore Roosevelt, ordered the United States Department of Justice to pursue a case against Northern Securities.[1]


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