A report on Anti-Pinkerton Act

Law passed by the U.S. Congress in 1893 to limit the federal government's ability to hire private investigators or mercenaries.

- Anti-Pinkerton Act

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1859 illustration of Vidocq arresting a robber, after tracking him down

Private investigator

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Person who can be hired by individuals, groups or NGOs to undertake investigatory law services.

Person who can be hired by individuals, groups or NGOs to undertake investigatory law services.

1859 illustration of Vidocq arresting a robber, after tracking him down
Logo of the Pinkerton National Detective Agency
A 1904 illustration of Sherlock Holmes, arguably the world's most famous fictional private detective.

The federal Anti-Pinkerton Act of 1893 continues to prohibit an "individual employed by the Pinkerton Detective Agency, or similar organization" from being employed by "the Government of the United States or the government of the District of Columbia."

Pinkerton (detective agency)

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Private security guard and detective agency established in the United States by Scotsman Allan Pinkerton in the 1850s and currently a subsidiary of Securitas AB.

Private security guard and detective agency established in the United States by Scotsman Allan Pinkerton in the 1850s and currently a subsidiary of Securitas AB.

Original company logo
Pinkerton guards escort strikebreakers in Buchtel, Ohio, 1884
Pinkerton men leaving a barge after their surrender during the Homestead Strike
Frick's letter describing the plans and munitions that will be on the barges when the Pinkertons arrive to confront the strikers in Homestead

Following the strike, Congress took swift action against the Pinkertons and passed the Anti-Pinkerton Act in 1893, which severely curtailed the relationship between the federal government and the agency.

Leonardo da Vinci's Profilo di capitano antico, also known as il Condottiero, 1480. Condottiero meant "leader of mercenaries" in Italy during the Late Middle Ages and the Renaissance.

Mercenary

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Private individual, particularly a soldier, who takes part in military conflict for personal profit, is otherwise an outsider to the conflict, and is not a member of any other official military.

Private individual, particularly a soldier, who takes part in military conflict for personal profit, is otherwise an outsider to the conflict, and is not a member of any other official military.

Leonardo da Vinci's Profilo di capitano antico, also known as il Condottiero, 1480. Condottiero meant "leader of mercenaries" in Italy during the Late Middle Ages and the Renaissance.
Private military contractor in Badakhshan Province, Afghanistan, 2006.
Turkish mercenary in Byzantine service c. 1436
Landsknechte, etching by Daniel Hopfer, c. 1530.
A peasant begs a mercenary for mercy in front of his burning farm during the Thirty Years' War.
Frederick Russell Burnham in Africa
White mercenaries fighting alongside Congolese troops in 1964
A banner on the wall of the office of the Mahdi Army in Al Diwaniyah, Iraq announcing the killing of one of the militia members in Syria
The Scottish Highlander mercenaries, known as Redshanks in Ireland, in the service of Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden; 1631 German engraving
A Foreign Legionnaire during the French conquest of Algeria

The Anti-Pinkerton Act of 1893 forbade the U.S. government from using Pinkerton National Detective Agency employees, or similar private police companies.