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McDowell4

Governor-General John McDowell.

The Railroad Control Commission Act of 1878 was an act passed by the Grand Council of the Confederation of North America and signed into law by Governor-General John McDowell in 1878. As with all the legislation passed by the Grand Council during McDowell's first term, the act was passed by a bipartisan coalition of McDowell's Liberal Party, which held a plurality of 62 seats in the Eighth Grand Council, and the People's Coalition, a recently-founded reform party with 39 seats. The act created the Railroad Control Commission, a regulatory body that had the power to investigate complaints and make recommendations for rate adjustments. However, as was the case with most of the reforms passed during McDowell's first term, the Railroad Control Commission Act had no enforcement provisions. The Commission could investigate, but it could not compel the railroads to follow its recommendations. Not until passage of the Transportation Act of 1883 was the Commission given the power to change railroad policies.

Sobel's source for the Railroad Control Commission Act of 1878 is Worthington Fowler's John McDowell and the Fruits of Reform (New York, 1899).

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