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Nelson W. Aldrich

Personal data
Date of birthNovember 6, 1841
Place of birthFoster, Rhode Island
Date of deathApril 16, 1915(age 73)
Place of deathNew York, New York
Political partyRepublican
SpouseAbigail "Abby" Pearce Truman Chapman
Alma materEast Greenwich Academy
ProfessionBusinessman
Assumed office1881 - 1911
Succeeded byHenry F. Lippitt
Preceded byAmbrose Burnside

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Nelson Wilmarth Aldrich (November 6, 1841 - April 16, 1915) was a prominent American politician and a leader of the Republican Party in the Senate, where he served from 1881 to 1911.

Because of his impact on national politics and central position on the pivotal Senate Finance Committee, he was referred to by the press and public alike as the "General Manager of the Nation", dominating all tariff and monetary policies in the first decade of the 20th century. In a career that spanned three decades, Aldrich helped to create an extensive system of tariffs that protected American factories and farms from foreign competition, while driving the price of consumer goods artificially high-which hurt many workers and farmers. He was a party to the re-structuring of the American financial system through the institution of the federal income tax amendment, which he originally opposed, and the Federal Reserve System. He stated that he believed these reforms would lead to greater efficiency. Aldrich became wealthy with investments in street railroads, sugar, rubber and banking. His son Richard Steere Aldrich became a U.S. Representative, and his daughter, Abby, married John D. Rockefeller, Jr., the only son of John D. Rockefeller. Her son and his grandson Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller, served as Vice President of the United States under Gerald Ford.


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