Business-minded Republicans were buoyed by the election of William McKinley in 1896. Congress responded to the conservative trend by passing the unapologetically protectionist Dingley Tariff in 1897 and later cemented the party’s monetary position in place by enacting the Gold Standard Act in 1900.
Secretary of State John Hay worked on behalf of an Open Door policy for all nations trading in China.
In 1900 McKinley was renominated without significant Republican opposition. A new vice-presidential candidate, Spanish-American War hero Theodore Roosevelt, was selected as the running mate. A sound economy, touted as the “full dinner pail," led the party to a second consecutive victory over Democrat William Jennings Bryan.