The idea of a national institution to represent the unified interests of U.S. business first took shape when President William Howard Taft, in a message to Congress on December 7, 1911, addressed the need for a "central organization in touch with associations and chambers of commerce throughout the country and able to keep purely American interests in a closer touch with different phases of commercial affairs."
Four months later, on April 22, 1912, President Taft's vision became a reality when a group of 700 delegates from various commercial and trade organizations came together to create a unified body of business interest that today is the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
In 1925, construction on the Chamber headquarters was completed on property that had belonged to Daniel Webster (read the history of the building), and the U.S. business community made it a rallying point for promoting and defending free enterprise and individual opportunity.
Over 100 years later, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world's largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.
The U.S. Chamber and the legacy of Daniel Webster share more than just the hallowed ground that is now 1615 H Street Northwest. This venerable institution and this statesman's spirit share an unwavering commitment to democracy, individual opportunity, and free enterprise. They are forever bonded by the words of Webster, which were inscribed in stone in the original Chamber building:
Let us develop the resources of our land, call forth its powers, build up its institutions, promote all its great interests, and see whether we also, in our day and generation, may not perform something worthy to be remembered."
— Daniel Webster, June 17, 1825, Speech Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Battle of Bunker Hill, Charlestown, Massachusetts
Celebrating Over 100 Years
In 2012, the Chamber celebrated 100 years of standing up for American enterprise.
Look Back on 100 Years of Chamber History
President Harding addressed a Chamber gathering in May 1922.
In honor of its 50th anniversary, President Kennedy spoke to the Chamber about the importance of the free enterprise system.
President Reagan addressed the Chamber’s 70th annual meeting.