Our History

The FTC's mission is to protect consumers and promote competition. As the FTC celebrates its 100th anniversary, our thoughts turn to its unique mission, significant events in Commission history, and its staff, stakeholders and constituents – present and past. 

More to Come

Check back as we add new materials and infomation on events commemorating the FTC's 100 years of service.

Our History

Our Predecessor: The Bureau of Corporations

Under legislation sought by President Theodore Roosevelt, the FTC's predecessor, the Bureau of Corporations, was created on February 14, 1903.

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of that event, the Bureau of Economics held a roundtable on September 4, 2003. The focus of the roundtable was the contributions of economics and of the Bureau of Economics to the Commission's mission and to economic policy generally over the past several decades. The Bureau of Economics was featured because the original functions of the Bureau of Corporations were to collect information, to conduct industry and policy research, and to prepare reports at the request of Congress and the President. Participants in the roundtable included FTC Chairman Timothy J. Muris, former FTC Chairman and OMB Director James C. Miller III, and BE Directors from the 1950s to the present. More information about the roundtable, including a transcript, is available.

Our Building

The FTC established its headquarters at 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., with President Franklin D. Roosevelt laying the cornerstone himself. 

Roosevelt remarked, “May this permanent home of the Federal Trade Commission stand for all time as a symbol of the purpose of the government to insist on a greater application of the golden rule to conduct the corporation and business enterprises in their relationship to the body politic.” Listen to FDR’s speech.

The building which is particularly known for its two art deco style statues, called “ Man Controlling Trade,” is located at the apex of the Federal Triangle, and was the culmination of the massive Depression-era government building project.  Commissioners and staff officially moved in on April 21, 1938, and the building continues to function as the FTC’s headquarters, serving the agency’s adjudicative, executive, policy, and administrative functions.

The Federal Trade Commission Building as seen from 6th Street, NW, Washington, DC. Photo by Jonathan B. Morgan
This sculpture, one of a pair found outside of the Federal Trade Commission Building, is entitled "Man Controlling Trade" and was completed for the FTC Building in 1942 by New York sculptor Michael Lantz. Photo by Jonathan B. Morgan