First, if you're looking for a brief history of the antitrust
movement, here's one that can be found in one long paragraph:
A Short History of Antitrust Legislation in the U.S.
Here are two other sites that provide a good overview of antitrust history:
To summarize, the prevention of monopolies has long been an interest
of the government in the United States, although until the end of the
19th century it was more the states than the federal government that
The first major piece of federal legislation was the landmark Sherman
Act. It basically was intended to invalidate any contract that led to
a restraint of trade. The act (as well as later legislation and court
rulings) led to the breaking up of the Northern Securities Company,
Standard Oil and American Tobacco. The most recent breakup of a
humongous company was that of American Telephone & Telegraph in 1982.
In recent years, the vigor with which the federal government has
pursued antitrust efforts has been a somewhat partisan matter. During
the 1980s the federal government was more tolerant of larger
companies; it's no coincidence the legal action against monopolization
by Microsoft occurred during the Clinton administration. But even
under the less hostile-to-corporate-America Bush administration, it
remains the policy of the U.S. government to prevent monopolies and
Some of modern antitrust cases are discussed in this article:
Microsoft latest case in long U.S. antitrust history
The following article also takes a look (an opiniated one) at modern
Is Big Bad?
I hope you find these articles useful.
Google search term used: history antitrust