Party affiliation: Republican Party
He made rapid success in business, with interests in banking, sugar, rubber, and utilities, and was active in politics on the Providence common council from 1869 to 1875, in the Rhode Island state legislature from 1875 to 1876, and in the national House of Representatives from 1879 to 1881. In 1881 he entered the United States Senate where he served for 30 years. Owing to his strong character, business connections, genius as a parliamentarian, and political mastery of his own state, Aldrich became one of the inner circle of the Republican party and a dominant Senate leader. A conservative, he championed the protective tariff and the maintenance of the gold standard. He worked closely with Theodore Roosevelt during the first years of the latter's presidency, but opposed the Hepburn railroad rate bill in its original thoroughgoing form. The controversial Payne-Aldrich tariff of 1909, which Aldrich sponsored, was an important factor in splitting the Republican party in 1912.
Aldrich's most important contribution came in the field of banking reform. As chairman of the National Monetary Commission, which had been created under the 1908 Aldrich-Vreeland Act, he drew up the Aldrich Plan, which contained many features that were later incorporated in the Federal Reserve System.
Born November 6, 1841