• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

A manual offering information on the most important laws and treaties approved by Congress in more than 200 years since the first session in 1789. Each Congress is covered in a separate chapter introduced by a historical essay setting the actions of the legislators in the context of their times.

Fifty-Fifth Congress: March 4, 1897, to March 3, 1899
Fifty-fifth Congress: March 4, 1897, to March 3, 1899
  • First session—March 15, 1897, to July 24, 1897
  • Second session—December 6, 1897, to July 8, 1898
  • Third session—December 5, 1898, to March 3, 1899
  • Special session of the Senate—March 4, 1897, to March 10, 1897
  • (First administration of William McKinley, 1897–1901)
Historical Background

In his first inaugural address, delivered March 4, 1897, President William McKinley called for higher tariffs to offset a Treasury deficit made worse by a deepening depression and the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to invalidate the income tax provisions of the Wilson-Gorman Tariff Act of 1894. Soon afterward, the president summoned a special session of Congress to enact legislation to increase revenues and provide more comprehensive protection for American industries. In ...

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