It is equally impossible for the majority of shippers to enjoy the competition of parallel lines.
It was believed by its advocates that this system of prescribing the conditions of construction and operation of lines could promote public safety, prevent waste of capital and secure passengers and shippers against extortionate rates.
In cases where statutes did touch the question of regulation, they had to do with the operation of trains and with the provision of facilities for shippers and passengers, rather than with questions of rates.
Most of them had power to impose schedules of maximum rates; practically all of them had authority to prescribe rates upon complaint of shippers; and they could all seek the aid of the courts to enforce their decrees.
The exceptional dependence of Iowa on eastern markets has given more than ordinary prominence to railway legislation, and the conflict of interests between the railways and the shippers has agitated the state for forty years, various attempts being made to regulate freight rates by legal enactment.