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Randy Gordon is a partner in Barnes & Thornburg’s Dallas office and a member of the antitrust, appellate, litigation and trial and product liability practice groups. (Courtesy photo)

Over a century ago, the United States entered the Progressive Era, which came on the heels of what Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner dubbed the Gilded Age. The latter was marked by the rise of large corporate interests, fabulously wealthy “robber barons,” and technological innovation. The former, in some sense a reaction to perceived Gilded Age excess, spawned an array of political and legal reforms, including antitrust attacks on ubiquitous business trusts. In his 1901 novel “The Octopus,” Frank Norris played to the public’s fears of these trusts and their surreptitious and growing influence:

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