The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 50, July 1946 - April, 1947 Page: 479
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Establishment of the Texas Railroad Commission 479
the fact that we had no factories in Texas. The state had
encouraged the railroads to be built, granting to them ofttimes
as much as sixteen sections of land to the mile. The roads, when
built, had a monopoly of the traffic, and, unless the roads were
controlled by law, the people of Texas were at their mercy.
Judge Terrell made that point clear, but his views were never
made effective until five years later when the state Democratic
convention put a plank in its platform demanding that the legis-
lature submit a constitutional amendment to the people at the
next general election requiring that the legislature create a rail-
road commission with ample powers to regulate freight and
passenger rates and to perform such other functions as might
become necessary to carry out the purposes of the law.
At this, my first session, a bill was offered by Frank P. Alex-
ander of Hunt County providing for the creation of a railroad
commission with power to fix and maintain freight rates. This
bill was substantially a copy of the Georgia railroad commission
law. At that date some of the ablest lawyers in Texas raised
the point that the constitution did not authorize the creation of
the commission by the legislature nor the delegation of the power
to fix and maintain freight rates to a commission. They insisted
the legislature alone was authorized to perform that task. I
believed at the time that those opinions were largely influenced
by the acts of similar bodies created by the Reconstruction
government for the accomplishment of other purposes. One who
did not live through that period cannot understand why the
prejudice was so intense. It is not my purpose here to repeat
the reasons, but that they existed is well known. I found that
many younger members of the bar including myself believed
that inasmuch as the constitutional convention had commanded
the legislature to fix and maintain freight rates and prevent
unjust discriminations between persons and places and, as it
was impossible for the legislature by itself to perform that task,
that it had the implied power to create some agency that would
enable it to obey the mandate of the constitution. It was ap-
parent to all that a statute prescribing rates to be charged by
railroads was simply impossible. A rate just, when passed by
the legislature, might because of changed conditions quickly
become unjust. So it was necessary to have some agency that
could change the rates when they became unjust and unfair.
The acts of these agents, like acts of the legislature, would
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 50, July 1946 - April, 1947, periodical, 1947; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101117/m1/587/: accessed July 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.