What Was the Mann-Elkins Act?

The Mann-Elkins Act of 1910 was legislation passed by the U.S. Congress that granted the Interstate Commerce Commission greater authority to regulate railroad rates for commercial transportation. The act placed the burden of proof on railroads, requiring them to demonstrate that their rates were reasonable.

Congress established the Interstate Commerce Commission in 1887 to contest railroad monopolies in the United States. The Mann-Elkins Act followed the Hepburn Act of 1906 and preceded the Transportation Act of 1920. Congress passed all three legislative actions to increase the authority of the commission. The Mann-Elkins Act specifically expanded the commission to cover telephones, telegraphs and radio.