Cummins, Albert Baird, 1850-1926

Alternative names
Birth 1850-02-15
Death 1926-07-30

Biographical notes:

Albert Baird Cummins was a progressive Republican from Des Moines who served Iowa as state representative (1888-1890), governor (1902-1908) and United States senator (1908-1926). Prior to entering politics Cummins practiced law and gained national visibility for his successful representation of the Iowa Farmers' Protective Association in their case against the Washburn & Moen barbed wire trust. Between 1896 and 1900 he was an influential member of the Republican National Committee. During his terms as governor Cummins advanced legislation that diminished the influence of railroads and corporations in politics, regulated freight rates and established direct primary election of U.S. Senate candidates. As a U.S. senator Cummins continued to be associated with railway regulation. He chaired the Interstate Commerce Committee and co-authored the Esch-Cummins Transportation Act of 1920, an act which returned private control over railroads after their nationalization during World War I. Critics felt this legislation favored railroads by allowing consolidation of lines and a guaranteed rate of return on valuations, but Cummins defended the law's provisions to protect smaller, less powerful lines from abandonment and to prevent debilitating restraints on the railway industry as a whole. In 1912 and 1916 Cummins ran for president as a member of the Republican Party. Throughout his political career Cummins was a proponent of women's suffrage, presidential primaries, anti-trust legislation and agricultural price supports. He was prominent in debates on tariffs, trade reciprocity agreements, and the League of Nations.

From the description of Albert Baird Cummins papers, 1891-1926. (State Historical Society of Iowa, Library). WorldCat record id: 180153748


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  • Railroads
  • Monopolies
  • Progressivism (United States politics)
  • Presidential candidates
  • Governors--Biography
  • International trade
  • Primaries
  • Legislators--Biography
  • Railroad law


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  • Iowa (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)