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Talk:Does Price Fixing Destroy Liberty?

Information about this edition

64Does Price Fixing Destroy Liberty? [1]   Earle, George Howard, Jr. (1856 – 1928)

A consideration of certain economic and common law principles applying to governmental interferences with the liberty of trade, ...Philadelphia, 1920

183 p. 26cm.
Bibliography: p. 183.
© Dec. 15, 1920; 2c. and aff.[2] Jan. 7, 1921; A 605311; G. H. Earle, jr., Philadelphia. (21-1069)

Contributor(s): Londonjackbooks, George Orwell III
Level of progress: 50%.png Text complete; Spring 2011
Notes: See topic sections below; annotated version of this text is complete, but with some external link issues to be addressed.

Holmes reviewEdit

"Those on the Lever Act, as amended, led me to read an excellent, if somewhat verbose, discussion by George H. Earle, Jr. that was distributed by Hughes[3] in connection with his attack..."—Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. on reading Does Price Fixing Destroy Liberty?[4]


There are apparently two versions of this essay. From the two that are documented below, all front matter (with the exception of differences in the table of contents), and text up to the end of Chapter 8 are identical. Both Introductions are dated October 1, 1920. However, the longer version appearing here on Wikisource contains two extra chapters making up an addendum ("The Aftermath" and "Final Summary"). The shorter version that I have recently viewed was presented to "Richard T. Ely Esq. With the regards of George H. Earle, Jr." (signature not dated) Londonjackbooks (talk) 16:55, 27 May 2011 (UTC)

More discussion on this topic here.

Shorter versionEdit

  • 162 pp.; without chapters 9 & 10 which appear in appended version. Back matter is different between versions as a result of the added chapters in the appended version. Table of Contents for this version (see images below) states Bibliography appears on p. 163, but that is a typo (also see images below); it actually appears on p. 162.

Front/back matterEdit

Appended versionEdit

See page scans.
View a pdf version at

  • "Does Price Fixing Destroy Liberty?...Philadelphia, 1920. 183 p. 26cm. Bibliography: p. 183. © Dec. 15, 1920; 2c. and aff. Jan. 7, 1921; A 605311; G. H. Earle, jr., Philadelphia. (21-1069)"[1]


  • "Richard T. Ely Esq. with the regards of George H. Earle Jr." (shorter version, held at Louisiana State University)
  • "Laurence D. Beggs. Presented to him by the author. Geo. H. Earle Jr. March 3d 1920." (appended version, held at the Free Library of Philadelphia; handwriting is Beggs'—not Earle's; compared signature with Beggs' WWII draft reg. card)
Beggs was GHE's son-in-law, who was married to Earle's daughter Frances. Frances died in October of 1918—succumbing to the flu epidemic during that time. Her sister Edith also died of the flu less than a week prior. Frances had come to Edith's home to tend to her sister. Londonjackbooks (talk) 00:54, 3 June 2011 (UTC)

Timeline of eventsEdit


Aug 10—Act of August 10th, 1917, Chapter 53, Public No. 41, Volume 40 United States statutes at large page 276. [5]


Oct 22—Act of October 22nd, 1919, Chapter 80, Public No. 63, Volume 41 United States statutes at large page 297. [6]


Oct 24—Justice Holmes writes to Felix Frankfurter about having read Does Price Fixing Destroy Liberty?[7] It is not yet clear whether he read the shorter version or the appended version.

The Lever Act, as amendedEdit

From the Earle text (Chapter 2, first footnote):

The Lever Act (Act of Congress approved August 10, 1917, Section 4, as amended by Section 2 of the Act approved October 22, 1919), reads thus amended as follows:
"That it is hereby made unlawful for any person wilfully to destroy any necessaries for the purpose of enhancing the price or restricting the supply thereof; knowingly to commit waste or wilfully to permit preventable deterioration of any necessaries in or in connection with their production, manufacture, or distribution; to hoard, as defined in Section 6 of this Act, any necessaries; to monopolize or attempt to monopolize, either locally or generally, any necessaries; to engage in any discriminatory and unfair, or any deceptive or wasteful practice or device, or to make any unjust or unreasonable rate or charge in handling or dealing in or with any necessaries; to conspire, combine, agree, or arrange with any other person, (a) to limit the facilities for transporting, producing, harvesting, manufacturing, supplying, storing, or dealing in necessaries; (b) to restrict the supply of necessaries; (c) to restrict distribution of any necessaries; (d) to prevent, limit, or lessen the manufacture or production of necessaries in order to enhance the price thereof; or (e) to exact excessive prices for any necessaries, or to aid or abet the doing of any act made unlawful by this section. Any person violating any of the provisions of this section upon conviction thereof shall be fined not exceeding $5,000 or be imprisoned for not more than two years, or both; Provided, That this section shall not apply to any farmer, gardener, horticulturist, vineyardist, planter, ranchman, dairyman, stockman, or other agriculturist, with respect to the farm products produced or raised upon land owned, leased, or cultivated by him: Provided further, That nothing in this Act shall be construed to forbid or make unlawful collective bargaining by any co-operative association or other association of farmers, dairyman, gardeners, or other producers of farm products with respect to the farm products produced or raised by its members upon land owned, leased, or cultivated by them."

Repeal of the Lever ActEdit

(from Wikipedia)

"The work of the Fuel Administration ended in May 1919. The activities of the Food Administration declined quickly after the armistice and all but disappeared by July 1920.[8]

The Act of August 10, 1917, as amended, was repealed along with a number of other authorized-for-wartime measures in a joint resolution of Congress on March 3, 1921 by effectively declaring the wartime emergency still in effect at the time as formally over.[9][10]

Court cases brought under the so called Lever Act, both before and after the repeal, continued to work their way through the courts.


See the Glossary of Wikilinks for this text.

Latin translationEdit

"Impius et crudelis judicandus est, qui libertati non favet. Angliae jura in omni casu libertati dant favorem." (from Chapter 1)

Translation: "He should be adjudged impious and cruel who does not favor liberty. The laws of England are favorable in every case to liberty."

"in pari materia" (from Chapter 2)

Translation (from Wikipedia): "Upon the same matter or subject." When a statute is ambiguous, its meaning may be determined in light of other statutes on the same subject matter.

"secundum forman chartae" (from Chapter 3)

Translation: According to the form of the charter (or deed).

"Lex non cogit ad impossibilia." (from Chapter 4)

Translation: The law does not compel the impossible.

"obsta principiis" (from Chapter 6)

Translation: Resist the beginnings; nip it in the bud.

"jura naturae sunt immobilia, [and] leges legum." (from Chapter 9)

Translation: The laws of nature are immovable [and are] the laws of law.

"Id certum est quad certum reddi potest." (from Chapter 9)

Translation: That is certain that can be made certain.

External linksEdit


  1. ..."2c." indicates that two copies were received by the Copyright Office. The abbreviation "aff." stands for "affidavit of American manufacture," and simply indicates that the Copyright Office received a sworn affidavit that the work in question was created in the United States. Such an affidavit was required by U.S. copyright law at that time. The date that follows (Jan. 7, 1921) indicates the date the copies and the affidavit were received by the Copyright Office."—from the Digital Reference Section, Library of Congress.
  2. "In United States v. Cohen Grocery Co., 255 U.S. 81 (1921), the Court, in a unanimous opinion written by Chief Justice White, declared unconstitutional a section of the Lever [Food Control] Act of 1917. Former Associate Justice Charles Evans Hughes represented defendants in two related cases, Tedrow v. Lewis and Son Co., Id. at 98, and Kinnane v. Detroit Creamery Co., Id. at 102. The Court did not deny the government's right to fix prices in wartime but found that the statute set no adequate standards for "unreasonable" prices and hence violated the Fifth and Sixth Amendments." [from footnote 2, page 96 of Holmes and Frankfurter: their correspondence, 1912-1934 (Mennel, Robert M. and Christine L. Compston, 1996)]
  3. from a letter Mr. Holmes wrote to Felix Frankfurter on 24 October 1920. [Mennel, Robert M. and Christine L. Compston, ed. Holmes and Frankfurter: their correspondence, 1912-1934 (1996), p. 95.]
  4. Act of Congress approved August 10, 1917, Chapter 53, Public No. 41, Sections 1-25, 40 Stat. 276
  5. Act of Congress approved October 22, 1919, Chapter 80, Public No. 63, Title I, Sections 1-3, 41 Stat. 297
  6. from a letter Mr. Holmes wrote to Felix Frankfurter on 24 October 1920. [Mennel, Robert M. and Christine L. Compston, ed. Holmes and Frankfurter: their correspondence, 1912-1934 (1996), p. 95.]
  7. Burl Noggle, Into the Twenties: The United States from Armistice to Normalcy (Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1974), 60-1
  8. Joint Resolution of March 3, 1921, c. 136, Public Res., No. 64., H.J. Res. 382., 41 Stat. 1359.
  9. Federal Statutes Annotated Supplement, 1921., p. 66

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