From Ohio History Central
Portrait of William McKinley, ca. 1890-1899. McKinley was the twenty-fifth President, serving from 1897-1901.
In 1890, William McKinley, a member of the United States House of Representatives from Ohio, introduced a tariff bill, which became known as the McKinley Tariff. Tariffs are taxes placed on foreign goods by federal governments. By placing taxes on foreign goods, these products become more expensive. As a result of the increased prices for foreign goods, hopefully citizens of a nation will purchase items manufactured within their own country.
William McKinley was a member of the Republican Party. During the late nineteenth century, Republicans strongly supported tariffs to protect growing industries within the United States from foreign competition. The McKinley Tariff was passed into law in 1890, and it dramatically increased the tax rate on foreign products. While many business owners supported this legislation, American consumers generally opposed it, as prices increased for goods. During the late 1800s and early 1900s, the Republican Party and the Democratic Party continuously battled over tariffs. American opposition to the McKinley Tariff was so high that President Benjamin Harrison, a Republican, may have lost reelection in 1892 partly because of his support for the tax.