Aldrich, Nelson

Aldrich, Nelson (Wilmarth)

(1841–1915) U.S. representative/ senator; born in Foster, R.I. After prospering in the wholesale grocery business, he was elected from Rhode Island as a Republican to the U.S. House of Representatives (1879–81) and to the U.S. Senate (1881–1911). A friend of business interests and the high protective tariff, he became a major power in the Republican controlled Senate after 1897; he was known for the Aldrich-Vreeland Act for monetary reform (1908), the Payne-Aldrich Tariff (1909), and the Aldrich Plan for reforming the American banking system. His own investments allowed him to leave a large fortune to his heirs and favored philanthropies.