What were the Granger Laws?

The Granger laws were a set of legislative regulations approved by the United States of Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota in the 1860s and 1870s. The laws were intended to curb the increase in transportation and storage costs charged by grain elevators and by the railway companies that enjoyed the monopoly. Several farmers in the Southern and Midwest states joined together to form the Granger Movement that led the adoption of the Granger Laws. The United States Supreme Court has ruled on important issues concerning regulations including the Wabash Vs. Illinois and Munn vs Illinois cases. The Granger Movement established a legacy that continues today as the National Grenade of the Order of Patrons of Livestock

The Granger movement

The Granger Movement was founded by American farmers in the southern and Midwest states who sought to increase their earnings one year after the American civil war. The civil war had hit the farmers negatively, and many of them had accumulated losses and debts. Few farmers had managed to buy machinery and land, but at high interest rates. At the time, the railroad was the efficient mode of transport available to farmers, but the industry was privately owned and unregulated. Railway companies charged excessive transportation costs that farmers had to bear or incur without transporting their crops to the market. In 1866, (then) US President Andrew Johnson sent Hudson Kelley to the South to assess the effects of the war on agriculture. Hudson was shocked by what he found and decided to form a movement that would unite peasants in the north and south. In 1868, the first grange of the country was established in Fredonia, New York. The movement gathered farmers to build their own regional storage facilities and grain elevators, mills and silos. The movement has also pushed for the enactment of laws to reduce transport costs. The movement gathered farmers to build their own regional storage facilities and grain elevators, mills and silos. The movement has also pushed for the enactment of laws to reduce transport costs. The movement gathered farmers to build their own regional storage facilities and grain elevators, mills and silos. The movement has also pushed for the enactment of laws to reduce transport costs.

Implementation of laws

Before 1890, the US Congress had no mandate to enact federal antitrust laws. The movement had to push state legislatures to enact laws that protected farmers from high prices for grain storage and railways. After intense lobbying, Illinois became the first state to regulate the cost of transport by setting a maximum amount that railway companies could charge farmers. Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin also passed similar laws shortly thereafter. The laws did not go well with the grain store and the railway companies, which brought the matter to court. In 1877, the “Granger cases” reached the United States Supreme Court. The sentences of the Supreme Court on Wabash v. Illinoisand Munn v. Illinois cases led to the promulgation of the Interstate Commerce Act of 1887, which required transport companies to disclose their rates to Congress and forbidden railway companies to charge different costs for the same distance.

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