Side A: Born in Lancaster, Fairfield County, John Sherman moved to Mansfield to practice law and was elected to Congress in 1854 as one of the first Republicans. In 1861, Sherman was elected to the U.S. Senate. An authority on finance, Sherman was instrumental in shaping federal financial policy in the years following the Civil War, and President Rutherford Hayes appointed him Secretary of the Treasury in 1877. During the “Greenback” debate, he re-implemented the gold standard, stabilizing the currency during an inflationary period. Sherman returned to the Senate in 1881 and served until early 1897 when President McKinley appointed him Secretary of State; in declining health, he resigned in 1898. He died in Washington, D.C. and is interred in the Mansfield Cemetery.
Side B: In the decades following the Civil War, the U.S. economy grew rapidly with the emergence of large railroad and industrial interests. Unfair and fierce competition prompted the formation of large trusts, like Standard Oil, to control price competition. The resulting monopolies restricted free enterprise and became a focus of public and political debate; in the 1888 elections, both parties’ platforms called for the regulation of trusts. Ohio Senator John Sherman sponsored a bill to end business practices that restrained interstate or foreign trade. With intense public pressure, the bill passed and was signed into law on July 2, 1890. A popular law and a landmark in the economic history of the United States, the Sherman Anti-Trust Act remains relevant in American business practice.