The Payne-Aldrich Tariff

The Payne-Aldrich Tariff

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The special congressional session proved, in retrospect, to be a political disaster for President Taft.  In the House of Representatives, the "Progressive Republicans" (also known as insurgents) defied their party leadership and tried to unseat the Speaker of the House, "Uncle Joe" Cannon of Illinois.  Cannon was very powerful; believing in a protective tariff, he and his allies controlled the agenda of the House.
The Senate did not accept the House bill.  Senator Nelson Aldrich of Rhode Island, a dedicated protectionist, arranged for amending the Payne bill to make the tariff even more protectionist than before.  Taft intervened, but with little success.  When both houses accepted the Senate amendments in what was now the Payne-Aldrich Tariff, Taft signed the law.  Americans who expected a dramatic lowering of tariff duties were disappointed.