Aldrich had a major effect on state politics, even before his election to the United States Congress. He served as the president of the Providence city council and Speaker of the Rhode Island House of Representatives, before being elected to Congress. Because of his impact on national politics, he was referred to as the "general manager of the United States".
In 1908, Aldrich introduced an amendment to establish an income tax, although he had declared it "communistic" a decade earlier. Later, he became the chief sponsor of the National Monetary Commission, later the Federal Reserve.
Because of his eventual support of an income tax, his daughter's marriage to John D. Rockefeller, and other related reasons, Aldrich is considered to have been one of the most elite politicians at the time, even known as the authentic voice of J.P. Morgan. He died in 1915, four years after his last term in the Senate ended.