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Wiley and the Whiskey Industry: Strategic Behavior in the Passage of the Pure Food Act

Jack High and Clayton A. Coppin
The Business History Review
Vol. 62, No. 2 (Summer, 1988), pp. 286-309
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3116002
Page Count: 24
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Wiley and the Whiskey Industry: Strategic Behavior in the Passage of the Pure Food Act
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Abstract

In discussions of the fight for the Pure Food and Drugs Act of 1906, Harvey Washington Wiley is usually portrayed as the consumers' champion, the Whiskey Trust as their adversary. Messrs. High and Coppin argue otherwise. Wiley's correspondence from 1904 to 1906 reveals a deep split between whiskey producers, with the makers of straight whiskey lining up behind Wiley's pure food bill and the rectified whiskey producers fighting against it. The authors argue that both sides used the consumer only as a convenient focus for their rhetoric; their activities thus provide another example of regulatory legislation passed to further the goals of private interests rather than to protect the public interest.

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