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The purpose of this monograph is to present a review of the laws of Iowa which have been enacted primarily through economic considerations: it aims to trace the historical development of economic legislation in such a manner as to indicate the tendencies of such legislation in Iowa.

Being primarily an historical review, the monograph does not attempt to treat any one of the several groups of economic legislation in an exhaustive manner. A special monograph might well be devoted to each of the important divisions of this volume. Indeed, several such special monographs have already been prepared under the direction of and published by The State Historical Society of Iowa (see Downey's History of Labor Legislation in Iowa; Brindley's History of Taxation in Iowa; Brindley's History of Road Legislation in Iowa; and Downey's History of Work Accident Indemnity in Iowa).

The scope of this work may be briefly indicated by the statement that only that legislation is considered which has been enacted primarily through economic considerations: it includes all legislation enacted for the purpose of internal improvement and for the conservation or development of the natural resources of the State; legislation enacted for the purpose of regulating business in its various forms; labor legislation; and tax legislation. Legislation relative to those branches of private law which deal with the rights of property, domestic relations, and the estates of decedents has been excluded from consideration in these pages.

The author gratefully acknowledges his obligation to Professor Benj. F. Shambaugh, Superintendent and Editor of The State Historical Society of Iowa, whose guidance and encouragement made the work possible. Likewise to Dr. Dan E. Clark the writer owes much besides the compilation of the index. Acknowledgments are also due to Miss Helen Otto for assistance in the verification of the manuscript, and to Miss Ruth A. Gallaher, Librarian of The State Historical Society of Iowa.


INTRODUCTION The ultimate purpose of government is to secure to the individual and to society the largest practicable measure of well-being by equalizing opportunity, by maintaining order, by providing educational facilities, and by regulating certain factors in the social and economic environment in the interest of freedom. In other words, government makes for the general well-being of society by preventing the exploitation of individuals, groups, or classes. Government may even contribute directly to the welfare of the individual by requiring of him certain action in his own interest. “Besides administering justice and protecting life and property, it is the plain duty of the state to see to it that the social and economic conditions under which the individual is compelled to live are such that he can develop his latent abilities, make the most of the faculties with which he is endowed by nature, and thus realize fully the ends of his existence. In short, the state should be an instrument of economic and social progress.1

Since the middle of the nineteenth century there has been a remarkable change of attitude in regard to the scope of governmental functions: there has been a marked tendency on the part of civilized states to extend their activities into fields which had theretofore been left to unregulated individual initiative. Public regulation has grown steadily in many directions, thus greatly modifying the individualistic theory of the functions of the state. To a greater extent than ever before it is seen that the individual may not always be the best judge of his own interests — that collective action enforced by the state may more nearly equalize opportunity and thus make for the best interests both of the

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