The sweeping victories of President William McKinley and congressional Republicans in 1896 had led inevitably to a reconsideration of tariffs as soon as the new Congress convened. Democrats and Republican insurgents favored lower tariffs, while McKinley, a former chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, had made his name synonymous with protective tariffs. Early in 1897 the House speedily passed the Dingley Tariff, named after Republican Representative Norman Dingley of Maine, to both raise rates and encourage trade reciprocity.
In the Senate, opponents launched a filibuster, but the bill passed on July 7, 1897. In this cartoon by Grant E. Hamilton, which appeared in Puck just a few days earlier on July 3, Uncle Sam, who represents the American people, has clearly grown tired of the filibusterís delaying tactics and uses a few Fourth of July firecrackers to awaken the senators.