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The return of the Fleet from its trip around the world,

February 22, 1909

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THEODORE ROOSEVELT

AND HIS TIME

CHAPTER I

RAILWAY RATE LAW-MAN WITH A MUCKRAKE

VIEWS ON MANY SUBJECTS

THE year 1906, like its immediate predecessor, was a very busy and, at times, an exciting one for the President, though there was no one matter of such dominating proportions as the Portsmouth Peace Conference.

The year opened with the contest in the Senate on the railway rate bill at its highest point of bitterness. The most powerful men in that body led the opposition to the measure which gave the Interstate Commerce Commission power to fix rates. Among them were men like Lodge and Knox, who were the President's warm personal friends. The Republican leader of the Senate, and the strongest man in it, Senator Aldrich of Rhode Island, was bitterly opposed to the measure. Virtually all the most influential newspapers of the country were also opposed to it. The prevailing opinion in press and public was that the measure would never pass the Senate. The Committee to which the bill was referred and whose chairman was Senator Aldrich, acted adversely upon it, and then, as a “good joke on the President," turned it over to Senator Tillman, Democratic Senator from South Carolina, thereby making him its sponsor. The joke lay in the fact that the President and Tillman were not on friendly terms, the President having not long before canceled an invitation to him to dine at the White House because he had made a personal assault in the Senate Chamber on his colleague from South Caro

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