Development of the Industrial United States 1878-1899: Law and Justice Research Article from American Eras

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Technological Change.

During the last three decades of the nineteenth century, the railroad, telegraph, telephone, electric light, and other technological innovations had a large impact upon the American legal system. In order to secure the exclusive right to make, use, or sell an invention, an inventor had to obtain a patent, or written document, conferring that privilege. With thirteen thousand patents issued every year during this period, patent law became a source of controversy. If two inventors claimed credit for the same innovation, a judge had to decide the merits of each one's claim. When a state claimed the power to regulate public transportation, a judge had to determine if reasonable prices were being charged. Lawyers, legal scholars, and law enforcement officials attempted to reform the legal system by instituting written codes to guide judges and to keep their decisions more consistent. The role of the Supreme Court changed...

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This section contains 2,001 words
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American Eras
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