William McKinley

‘A non-colonial imperialist’

‘a mediocre prelude to the vigour and energy of Theodore Roosevelt’


Figure 1 McKinley assassinated by Czolgosz

Early Life


Figure 2 McKinley in Ohio

William (1,6) McKinley (1,2) Jr. (1,6) was born on January 29th, (1,6) 1843. (1,5) He was the son (12,13) and seventh (13,14) of nine (14) children (13,14) of William McKinley, a manager of a charcoal furnace and (12) lessee of (13) a small-scale 12) iron foundry (6,12) and his wife Nancy Allison. (12,13) His parents were of Irish and Scotch descent. (13) He was born in Niles, Ohio, U.S., (1,2) a town of about 300 people, (13) but he called Canton home throughout his adult life. (4) The McKinley household was, like many from Ohio’s Western Reserve, steeped in Whiggish and abolitionist sentiment, the latter based on the family’s staunch Methodist beliefs. (14) William followed in the Methodist tradition, becoming active in the local Methodist church at the age of sixteen. (14) He was a lifelong pious Methodist. (14) William attended a one-room schoolhouse that stood on the site of the National McKinley Birthplace Memorial. (13) In 1852, (14) when he was nine years old, (13) the family moved to Poland, Ohio so the children could attend a (13,14) better (14) private (13) school there, the Poland (13,14) Academy (13) [OR] Seminary. (14) There William, who enjoyed reading, debating, and public speaking, became the president of the school’s first debate club. (13) Graduating from Poland in 1859 (14) at 16, (13) he enrolled the following year (14) at Allegheny College, (7,10) in Meadville, Pennsylvania. (13,14) He was an honorary member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. (14) He remained only briefly, returning home (13,14) in 1860 (14) after becoming ill (13,14) and depressed. (14) He also spent time at Mount Union College in Alliance, Ohio as a board member. (14) When he regained his health he did not return to Meadville because of the family’s worsening financial situation. (13,14) Instead, he gained work as a postal clerk (13,14) and was teaching in a country school (7,10) (Kerr School (13) near Poland, Ohio) (13,14) when the Civil War broke out. (7,10)

Civil War


Figure 3 Monument to McKinley at Antietam

When the Civil War broke out (10,12) on April 12th (13) 1861, (4,10) he was eighteen years old. (12) Thousands of men in Ohio volunteered for service. (14) He (4,6) and a cousin, Will Osbourne, (13,14) who later became mayor of Youngstown, (13) enlisted in the Union Army, (7) as privates (4,6) in the newly formed Poland Guards in June 1861. (14) The men left for Columbus where they were consolidated with other small units (14) into the 23rd regiment, Ohio Volunteer Infantry). (13,14) The men were unhappy to learn that, unlike Ohio’s earlier volunteer regiments, they would not be permitted to elect their officers; they would be designated by Ohio’s governor, William Dennison. (14) He chose Colonel William Rosecrans [OR] Rutherford B. Hayes, (12,13) the future United States president. (13) McKinley quickly took to the soldier’s life and wrote a series of letters to his hometown newspaper extolling the army and the Union cause. (14) Delays in issuance of uniforms and weapons again brought the men into conflict with their officers, but (14) fellow Ohioan (10,14) Major (14) Rutherford B. Hayes, (12,13) convinced them to accept what the government had issued them; his style in dealing with the men impressed McKinley, (14) beginning an association and friendship that would last until Hayes’s death (10,14) in 1893. (14) He served in the civil war (5,6) and participated in several Civil War battles (4) the first of which was at Carnifax Ferry, (13,14) which at the time was part of Virginia. (13) He was promoted to commissary sergeant, and while his regiment was under intense enemy fire (13,14) at the Battle of Antietam (12,13) on September 17th (13) 1862, (12,13) and against the advice of his superiors, (13) he took food to the troops. (13,14) Because of this act of bravery, he was promoted to the rank of second lieutenant. (12,13) He experienced a defeat at Kernstown on July 24. (14) By the time the war ended, he had attained the rank of brevet major (13) and served on Colonel Hayes’ staff. (10) [OR] General Crook’s staff. (14) He was discharged (12) [OR] retired in 1867 (5) [OR] 1865,(12) as major (5) [OR] brevet major (6,7) of volunteers (7,10) to Canton. (5) McKinley was the only President to have started the war as an enlisted soldier. (6) In 1886, he co-authored the Official Roster of the Soldiers of the State of Ohio in the War of the Rebellion, 1861–1866. (14)


Law Practice

He returned to Poland (13) Ohio, after the war (6,7) [OR] He lived in Canton—except for his years in Washington, D.C.—for the rest of his life. (12) he studied law (12,13) in Poland with Judge Charles Glidden. (13) In 1866 he entered law school in Albany, New York, but although he did not graduate, (13) he was admitted to the bar (12,13) in Warren, Ohio (13) in 1867. (12,13) He began his career (4,5) as a lawyer (5,6) in Canton, (4,5) Ohio, (6,7) where two of his sisters were schoolteachers. (13) He got a job working for Judge George Belden. (13) Belden, over-burdened with work, offered a case to McKinley. (13) When William won the verdict, the judge was so impressed he paid him $25.00 for the case, and offered him a job. (13) Later, McKinley opened his own law office. (13)



Figure 4: Ida McKinley

While doing business at a local bank (13) in Canton, (4,6) in 1871 (12) he met his (4,6) beloved (4,12) wife, (4,6) Ida Saxton, (6,7) daughter of a local banker, (7,10) and known as the “Belle” of Canton. (13) They married in January, 1871 and their first daughter, Katherine, was born on Christmas day of that year. (13) Their second (13) child (12,13), Ida, born in 1873, (13) died (12,13) at the age of 4 ½ months. (13) That same year, (13) Mrs. McKinley’s mother also died. (12,13) Two years later, their first (13) daughter, (12,13) Katie, (13) died (12,13) of typhoid fever. (13) After these deaths, (10,12) within two years (12,13) and in quick succession, Ida’s health rapidly deteriorated. (10,12) She descended into a deep depression at her baby’s death (13,14) and suffered from phlebitis, and epilepsy, which left her a semi-invalid: (13) she spent the rest of her life as a chronic invalid. (10,12) She frequently suffered seizures, (12) and needed constant care (13) which placed an enormous physical and emotional burden on her husband. (12) The desire to care for the less fortunate1 was characteristic of McKinley and was nowhere better illustrated than in his marriage. (12) McKinley patiently catered to his wife throughout his burgeoning political career, winning praise from the public for his loving devotion to her. (10,12)


He entered politics (10,12) in 1869 (10) [OR] in 1867, when his Army friend Rutherford B. Hayes was nominated for governor, (14) [OR] immediately. (12) He became active in the politics of the Republican Party, (12,13) in Ohio (10,12) and was unexpectedly (14) elected Prosecuting Attorney of Stark County in 1869, (12,13) an office usually then held by Democrats. (14) His ties to Hayes, arising from their brotherhood in arms, (10,14) led to McKinley supporting Hayes for governor in 1867. (12,14) The county was closely divided between Democrats and Republicans, but Hayes carried it that year in his statewide victory. (14) He supported Ulysses S. Grant for president in 1868. (12) He rose through Ohio’s political ranks. (10,14) He attended the state Republican convention that nominated Hayes for a third term as governor in 1875, and campaigned again for his old friend in the election that fall. (14) The next year, McKinley undertook a high-profile case defending a group of striking coal miners arrested for rioting after a clash with strikebreakers. (14) The mine owners included Mark Hanna, a Cleveland businessman. (14) Taking the case pro bono, McKinley was successful in getting all but one of the miners acquitted. (14) The case raised McKinley’s standing among laborers, a crucial part of the Stark County electorate, and also introduced him to Hanna, who would become his strongest backer in years to come. (14) In 1876 he won election to Congress (10) but his victory came at a personal cost: his income as a congressman would be half of what he earned as a lawyer. (14)

Congress 1876

At the age of 34, (7) he was elected to Congress in 1876 (5,6) as the representative from Ohio’s 17th district. (12) His opponent, Levi Lamborn, had been wearing a scarlet carnation during a debate. (13) Shortly after this debate, McKinley began wearing a scarlet carnation in his lapel, which became his trademark, and was rarely seen without it while serving as congressman and governor. (13) It was the same year that Hayes, his friend and mentor, was elected as the nation’s 19th president. (10,12) McKinley’s attractive (7) [OR] bland (3) personality, (7) exemplary character, (3,7) and quick intelligence enabled him to rise rapidly. (7) Garfield’s election as president in 1880 created a vacancy on the House Ways and Means Committee; McKinley was (14) appointed to fill it, (7,12) placing him on the most powerful committee after only two terms. (14) He was and was repeatedly re-elected. (5,13) He served 7 terms in Congress from 1877-1891, except for a 9-month period in 1884-1885. (13) [OR] 1882, when he was temporarily unseated in an extremely close election. (12,13) In the 1882 election, the House ruled that his opponent, lawyer Jonathan Wallace, had actually received the most votes, therefore, Wallace took McKinley’s seat for the rest of the term. (13) McKinley easily regained the office in the 1884 election, and consistently won re-election even though the districts he represented were heavily Democratic. (13) McKinley increasingly became a significant figure in national politics. (14) In 1880, he served a brief term as Ohio’s representative on the Republican National Committee. (14) In 1884, he was elected a delegate to that year’s Republican convention, where he served as chair of the Committee on Resolutions and won plaudits for his handling of the convention when called upon to preside. (14) Robert M. La Follette, Sr., who served with him, recalled that he generally “represented the newer view,” and “on the great new questions … was generally on the side of the public and against private interests.” (7) He supported gold over silver as the backbone of America’s money system. (13) The issue with which McKinley became most closely identified during his congressional years was the protective tariff, (12,13) a high tax on imported goods which served to protect American manufacturers from foreign competition. (12) During his 14 years in the House, (7,10) he focused his energies on the tariff problem and became known as a protectionist and as a persuasive speaker. (13) He became the Republican Party’s expert on the protective tariff:(6,7) high tariffs on imported goods would bring prosperity. (6,10) While it was only natural for a Republican from a rapidly industrializing state to favour protection, McKinley’s support reflected more than his party’s pro-business bias. (12) He was generally associated with being on the side of big business, but he also worked hard for labour. (13) A genuinely compassionate man, McKinley cared about the well-being of American workers (12,13) and he always insisted that a high tariff was necessary to assuring high wages. (12) In 1889, Thomas Reed of Maine defeated him for the position of Speaker of the House. (13) McKinley gave his name to the tariff measure enacted in 1890, the ‘McKinley Tariff’ (6,7) of which he was the principal sponsor. (12) It raised duties higher than they had been at any previous time. (12)

Loses Congress Seat 1890

His’ Tariff was highly controversial. (5,6) It had business community support (5) but was used by the Democrats against him; (6) Voters rejected McKinley (6,10) and other Republicans (10) in the Democratic landslide of 1890, (6) due to people blaming the McKinley Tariff for (13) rising consumer prices, (10,13) [OR] because the Democrats gerrymandered his district, (6,12) changing the district boundaries so as to bring about Democratic victories. (13) He returned to Ohio (7,10) in 1891. (13)

Governor of Ohio 1891


The next year (7,10) he was elected Governor of Ohio in 1891 (6,7) [OR]1892. (7,10) He was re-elected governor of Ohio (6,7) in 1893. (6) After the so-called Panic of 1893 led to (10) a crippling economic depression in the United States (6,7) McKinley and his fellow Republicans regained the political advantage over the Democrats. (10) His’ tariff was subsequently modified by the Democrats in 1894. (5) As governor, a position he held for two terms from 1891-1895 (13) He steered a moderate course between capital and labour interests. (6) He proposed laws to protect railroad workers, addressed the issue of child labour, and established a state board of arbitration to deal with labour and business problems. (13) He encouraged employees to join labour unions and criticized employers who refused workers the right to organize. (13) He defended mineworkers in suits they had against Mark Hanna, the mineowner. (13) Mark (4,6) [OR] Marcus Alonzo (7,10) Hanna (6,7) was a millionaire industrialist, (13) a wealthy (7,10) Cleveland (7,13) Ohio businessman (7,10) He was so impressed with McKinley that they became good friends. (13,14) “in 1888 the two men began to develop a close working relationship that helped put McKinley in the White House.” (14) Popular opinion has it that Hanna led McKinley to political power and success, (12,13) though others said that McKinley dominated him. (8) In 1892, McKinley chaired the Republican National Convention and was almost nominated for the presidency. (13) Mark Hanna had unofficially opened a McKinley-for-President headquarters in Minneapolis, Minnesota (site of the convention). (13) In 1893, McKinley faced a personal crisis that almost sidetracked his political career. (13) He had co-signed bank notes totaling more than $100,000.00 to help a friend start a business, and when the business failed, McKinley, who did not have the money, was expected to repay the bank loans. (13) His friends, led by Mark Hanna, raised enough funds to repay the loans. (13) The public, sympathetic for McKinley, re-elected him as governor in 1893. (13) During those years Hanna, a powerful figure in the Republican Party, laid plans to gain the party’s presidential nomination for his good friend in 1896. (12) From Canton he ran for the highest office of the nation (4) and easily (12) won the Republican presidential nomination in 1896 (5,6) thanks to his congressional and gubernatorial experience, his longtime support of protectionism and (10) the aid of (7,10) the skilled manoeuvring of (10) Hanna, his friend and (4,7) close adviser. (6,7) He was nominated as the Republican presidential contender with Garret Hobart, a New Jersey senator, as his running mate. (13) His platform was based on the protective tariff and the gold standard, which became the main issue of the campaign. (13) William Jennings Bryan, a great orator from Nebraska, and his running mate, Arthur Sewall, a wealthy Maine shipbuilder were the Democratic opponents. (13)

Presidential Candidate 1896

The presidential campaign of 1896 was one of the most exciting in American history. (12) The central issue was the nation’s money supply. (12,13) McKinley was promoted as “the advance agent of prosperity,” (7,10) and the protector of America’s financial interests in contrast to the radical policies (10) of his Democratic (5,6) and Populist party (12) rival William Jennings Bryan. (5,6) Bryan, who favored an unlimited number of silver coins being made to increase the nation’s money supply, attracted national attention at the Democratic National Convention with his “cross of gold” speech, (13) so captivating the Convention that he was nominated by it for the presidency. (15) ‘Cleveland men’ or ‘Gold Democrats’ broke with their party after it became committed to free silver and held a convention of their own, thus denying Bryan many Democrat votes. (15) Bryan campaigned vigorously, traveling thousands of miles (12,13) 18,000 (13) and delivering hundreds of (12) whistle-stop (13) speeches (12) in support of an inflated currency (7,12) that would help poor farmers and other debtors. (12) He advocated (5,7) a bimetallic standard of gold and silver, (7,12) “free and unlimited coinage of both silver (5,7) and gold”. (7,10) It would have mildly (7) inflated the currency. (7,12) Bryan denounced high tariffs, (5) but as a longtime champion of protective tariffs (10) McKinley said that high tariffs would restore prosperity. (6,10) McKinley ran a ‘front porch campaign’, (6,7) remaining at home in Canton (12,13) partly because he didn’t want to leave his ailing wife. (13) He greeted visiting delegations of Republicans at his front porch and gave carefully prepared speeches promoting the benefits of a gold-backed currency. (12) Over 750,000 people visited Canton to hear him speak, and newspapers nationwide reprinted his speeches. (13) This campaign is noted for being the first one to hand out campaign buttons and memorabilia such as walking sticks, umbrellas, ribbons, soap babies, etc. (13) He was financed by Hanna, who obtained large contributions (7,12) from eastern Republicans frightened by Bryan’s (7,14) dangerously radical (12,14) views on silver. (7,14) They thought his inflationary program would bankrupt the railroads and ruin the economy. (14) Hanna approached them for support for his strategy to win the election, and they gave $3.5 million for speakers and over 200 million pamphlets (14) a campaign of education (14,15) advocating the Republican position on the money and tariff questions. (14) Bryan’s campaign had at most an estimated $500,000. (14) Hanna also, on McKinley’s behalf, met with the eastern Republican political bosses, such as Senators Thomas Platt of New York and Matthew Quay of Pennsylvania, who were willing to guarantee McKinley’s nomination in exchange for promises regarding patronage and offices. (14) McKinley, however, was determined to obtain the nomination without making deals, and Hanna accepted that decision. (14) McKinley advocated “sound money” (the gold standard (6,12) unless altered by international agreement) (6) whereas Bryan attacked the gold standard. (10,12) Bryan also opposed imperialism and was understood to favour Labour at the expense of capital. (5) By declaring for the gold standard in opposition to free coinage the Republicans lost an influential following in the silver mining and Prairie States but gained the support of multitudes of businessman among the Democrats in the Eastern Middle-west who saw in the free silver program a violation of good faith and a menace to returning prosperity. (15) McKinley won a landslide victory (7,10) with more than 7 million of the nearly 14 million votes. (13) He had the largest (7) [OR] the first (12) majority of popular votes (7,12) (some (10) [OR] more than (15) 600,000 (10,15)) since 1872, (7,12) and secured a large (5,12) majority (5,10) of 95 (12,15) (271 to 176) (12) in the Electoral College (5,10) as the representative of a gold standard and of capital. (5) The voting patterns established then displaced the near-deadlock the major parties had seen since the Civil War; the Republican dominance begun then would continue until 1932, another realigning election with the ascent of Franklin Roosevelt. (14)

First term as President 1897-1901

He was a Republican (2,3) and the 25th president of the United States. (1,2) His presidency began on March 4, (1,6) 1897. (1,2) He was the last Civil War veteran to be elected president. (4,6) His election in 1896 launched an era of Republican dominance that continued until 1910. (4) Historians regard this victory as a realigning election in which the political stalemate of the post-Civil War era gave way to the Republican-dominated Fourth Party System, which began with the Progressive Era. (6) He began by raising tariffs (6,10) but domestic issues would play only a minor role in the McKinley presidency. (12)

War with Spain 1898



Figure 5 The Destruction of the USS Maine

Not prosperity, but foreign policy, dominated McKinley’s (7,10) 1st term, (2,5) and would determine his presidential legacy. (10) Emerging from decades of isolationism in the 1890s, Americans had already shown signs of wanting to play a more assertive role on the world stage. (12) There was growing interest in Cuba, (13) where there was an ongoing conflict: (9,10) for decades, rebels had waged an intermittent campaign for freedom from Spanish colonial rule. (14) An insurrection had broken out in 1895, (9) fighting for independence from Spain. (13) Bloody attempts by the Spanish to repress the rebels (9,10) were increasingly regarded as inhuman, and aroused the sympathy of (9,10) various elements in the United States (9) [OR] ‘the public’ (10,12) and afforded an (9,10) opportunity for the new yellow press in the United States (7,9) of the Randolph (13) Hearst (12,13) and Joseph (13) Pulitzer newspapers (12,13) to influence American sentiment against Spain (7,9) by sensational headlines. (13) At this time, there was much anti-Spain sentiment in the U.S., partly because of the “yellow journalism” brought about by the in the newspapers of William Hearst and Pulitzer. (13) Reporting the stalemate between Spanish forces and revolutionaries in Cuba, newspapers screamed that a quarter of the population was dead and the rest suffering acutely. (7) By the time McKinley took the oath of office as president, many were eager to see the United States intervene in Cuba. (12) Cleveland had maintained an entirely correct attitude towards it, (9) and at first McKinley hoped to avoid American involvement, too. (12) In January 1898, Spain promised some concessions to the rebels, but when American consul Fitzhugh Lee reported riots in Havana, (14) McKinley agreed to send the battleship USS Maine to Havana (13,14) to protect American interests, (13) although he hoped to persuade Spain (6,10) to make concessions (10) in negotiation with the rebels, [OR] to grant independence to rebellious Cuba without conflict. (6,10) Negotiation failed (6,9) and in February 1898 two events stiffened his resolve to confront the Spanish. (12) First, a letter written by the Spanish minister to Washington, Enrique Dupuy de Lôme, was intercepted, and on February 9th it was published in American newspapers; the letter described McKinley as weak and too eager for public adulation. (12) Then, six days after the appearance of the Dupuy de Lôme letter, (12) on February (9,10) 15th (9,12) 1898, the USS (9,10) battleship (10,12) Maine (9,10) exploded (10,13) [OR] was mysteriously blown up (9) and sank as it sat anchored (12) in Havana Harbour. (9,10) 266 (12,13) enlisted men and officers (12) of its 354 men (13) died. (12,13) Public attention focused on the crisis and the consensus was that regardless of who set the bomb, Spain had lost control over Cuba. (14) McKinley insisted that a court of inquiry first determine whether the explosion was accidental. (14) Negotiations with Spain continued as the court considered the evidence, but on March 20, the court ruled that the Maine was blown up by an underwater mine. (14) A mid-20th century investigation proved conclusively that the Maine was destroyed by an internal explosion, but the yellow press convinced Americans of Spanish responsibility. (12) These events provoked strong feeling against Spain in the United States. (9,12) The public indignation brought pressure upon the President for war (7,9) over the issue of Cuban independence. (10,13) In the face of the belligerent attitude (9,12) of Congress (7,12) the press and various groups in the country, (9,12) and he asked Congress for authority to take action. (13) McKinley gave Spain an ultimatum, in March including demands for an end to the brutality inflicted upon Cubans and the start of negotiations leading toward independence for the island. (12) Spain agreed to (9,12) most of (12) [OR] to every condition in (9) McKinley’s demands (9,12) [OR] refused McKinley’s proposals, (14) but balked at giving up its last major New World colony. (12) McKinley finally yielded to the war clamour, despite the fact that Spain had agreed with respect to Cuba. (9) Spain McKinley asked Congress for the authority to intervene in the conflict. (10) He delivered his message asking for (7,9) neutral (7) [OR] his war message asking for a forcible (9) intervention (7,9) on April (7,9) 11th (9,14) 1898. (7,9) The congressional leaders were eager to satisfy the public demand for action. (12) On April 20th (9,12) Congress voted (7,9) three resolutions (7) [OR] a resolution (9) authorising intervention (7,9) but adding the Teller Amendment (14) disclaiming any intention of annexing Cuba. (9,12) This was tantamount to a declaration of war for the liberation and independence of Cuba. (7) The formal declaration of war came (9,10) on April 25th (9,10) [OR] on April 24th & 25th (9) and McKinley led the nation into the Spanish-American War of 1898. (2,6)

‘A Splendid Little War’


Figure 6: Rough Riders at San Juan Hill

This Spanish-American War (12,13) was brief: (7,12) it was “a splendid little war,” in the words of Secretary of State John Hay. (12) It lasted 100 days, (7) [OR] approximately 110 days (13) from early May to mid-August. (10,12) The United States victory was quick and decisive, (6,7) US forces easily defeated Spanish forces in the Philippines, Cuba, and Puerto Rico. (12) It began with the defeat of the Spanish fleet at Manila by Commodore George Dewey (9,13) on May 1st. (9) He sailed into Manila Bay and sank all the Spanish ships there. (13) Dewey’s overwhelming victory expanded the scope of the war from one centered in the Caribbean to one that would determine the fate of all of Spain’s Pacific colonies. (14) The U.S. then blockaded, (9,13) the Spanish ships inside Santiago Harbour. (13) After lengthy delays, the army, led by Major General William Rufus Shafter, sailed from Florida on June 20, landing near Santiago de Cuba two days later. (14) There was a battle at Elkan (9) Following a skirmish at Las Guasimas on June 24, Shafter’s army engaged the Spanish forces. (14) In an intense day-long battle on July 2nd (14) Teddy Roosevelt and (13) his cavalry regiment, (14) known as the Rough Riders, stormed up (13) San Juan Hill. (9,13) The American force was victorious, although both sides suffered heavy casualties. (14) Roosevelt returned home covered in glory. (14) The next day, the Spanish Caribbean squadron, which had been sheltering in Santiago’s harbour, broke for the open sea (14) [OR] A search for the main Spanish fleet was undertaken, and on July 3rd, (9) it was intercepted (14) and destroyed (7,10) in the largest naval battle of the war, (14) outside Santiago harbour in Cuba. (7,10) by Rear Admiral William T. Sampson’s North Atlantic Squadron. (14) Shafter laid siege to the city of Santiago, which surrendered on July 17th, placing Cuba under effective American control. (14) McKinley and Miles also ordered an invasion of Puerto Rico, which met little resistance when it landed in July. (14) Puerto Rico was occupied (7,9) on July the 25th. (9) The distance from Spain and the destruction of the Spanish navy made resupply impossible, and the Spanish government began to look for a way to end the war. (14) Manila in the Philippines was seized (7,9) on August 13th. (9) On August 12th (9) an armistice (9,12) the ‘peace protocol’ (9) was signed. (9,12)

Results 1: Land Gained

On December (9,10) the 10th (9) 1898, (10,12) a Treaty of peace was signed at Paris (9,10) officially ending the Spanish-American War. (10,13) Spain ceded to the United States (9,10) the Philippines. (2,5) Guam, and Puerto Rico. (6,7) For the loss of the Philippines she was paid $20,000,000. (9,13) Thus, through war and diplomacy, he kicked Spain out of the Caribbean. (3)

Results 2: Cuba

The USA conquered (2,5) [OR] liberated (3,10) Cuba, and then withdrew from it (2,3) [OR] As part of the peace settlement, (6,9) Cuba was promised independence, (6,12) [OR] became independent (12) [OR] remained under the control of the United States Army. (6) On March 2nd 1901 the Platt amendment respecting Cuba was added to the army appropriation bill for 1900 and 1902. (9) Cuba agreed not to impair her independence by treaty with foreign powers nor to assume public debt beyond the ability of her ordinary revenues to liquidate to permit American intervention for the protection of Cuban independence to sell or lease to the United States land necessary for naval or coaling stations. (9)

Results 3: Hawaii

American policy was increasingly turning to the Pacific, and the need of coaling stations and positions advantageous to its power was appreciated. (15) By a tripartite Treaty of 1889 The Samoan Islands were placed under the control of the United States England and Germany and under McKinley in 1999 later they were divided among these powers, Tutuila and the harbour of Pago Pago falling to the United States. (15) During the Spanish American War, McKinley also pursued the annexation of the Republic of Hawaii. (14) “Uncle Joe” Cannon, later Speaker of the House, once said that McKinley kept his ear so close to the ground that it was full of grasshoppers. (7) When McKinley was undecided what to do about Spanish possessions other than Cuba, he toured the country and detected an imperialist sentiment. (7) The new republic, dominated by business interests, had overthrown the Queen in 1893 when she rejected a limited role for herself. (14) There was strong American support for annexation, and the need for Pacific bases in wartime became clear after the Battle of Manila. (14) McKinley came to office as a supporter of annexation, and lobbied Congress to act, warning that to do nothing would invite a royalist counter-revolution or a Japanese takeover. (14) Foreseeing difficulty in getting two-thirds of the Senate to approve a treaty of annexation, McKinley instead supported the effort of Democratic Representative Francis G. Newlands of Nevada to accomplish the result by joint resolution of both houses of Congress. (14) The resulting Newlands Resolution passed both houses by wide margins, and McKinley signed it into law on July 8, 1898. (14) The independent Republic of (6,14) Hawaii (3,6) was acquired (3,6) by annexation in 1898 (6,14) and it became a United States territory. (6) McKinley biographer H. Wayne Morgan notes, “McKinley was the guiding spirit behind the annexation of Hawaii, showing … a firmness in pursuing it”. (14) the President told Cortelyou, “We need Hawaii just as much and a good deal more than we did California. It is manifest destiny.” (14) McKinley’s bold foreign policy (10) made the U.S. a world power under President McKinley. (12,13) It transformed America by establishing it as an imperial power (3,9) by a non-colonial imperialism that took America into global pre-eminence. (3,9) In general, it opened the doors for the United States to play an increasingly active role in world affairs. (9,10) extending the sphere of her political interests and contacts. (9) Under McKinley, the United States became an empire. (12)

Other Foreign Policy

Opponents of the treaty ending the US Spanish War derided it as “imperialist,” (10,12) and on February 6th, 1899, (14) the Senate approved the Treaty (12,14) by 57 to 27. (14) This was just one vote more than the required two-thirds. (12) These “anti-imperialists” opposed the United States acquiring overseas possessions, especially without the consent of the people who lived in them. (12) McKinley, however, took his cue from (10) the majority of Americans who supported it. (7,10) Although he had not entered the war for territorial aggrandizement, he sided with the “imperialists” in supporting ratification, convinced that the United States had an obligation to assume responsibility for “the welfare of an alien people.” (12) Although the Filipinos under Emilio Aguinaldo had aided the Americans against the Spaniards and had conquered the island of Luzon they were deeply disappointed when the conditions of the peace treaty were made known. (9) Between February 1899 and 1902 (9) there was an insurrection in the Philippines. (9,10) McKinley sent (9,10) 60,000 (9) troops to quell it (9,10) These were engaged in the island as guerrilla warfare with all its attendant horrors developed. (9) He developed the doctrine of “fair trade”, and forged our “special relationship” with Great Britain. (3) A sign of the times was the way the USA obliged Britain to accept arbitration in a frontier dispute involving Venezuela. (15)

Panama Canal

Closer to home, McKinley and Hay engaged in negotiations with Britain over the possible construction of a canal across Central America. (14) The Clayton–Bulwer Treaty, which the two nations signed in 1850, prohibited either from establishing exclusive control over a canal there. (14) The war had exposed the difficulty of maintaining a two-ocean navy without a connection closer than Cape Horn. (14) Now, with American business and military interests even more involved in Asia, a canal seemed more essential than ever, and McKinley pressed for a renegotiation of the treaty. (14) Hay and the British ambassador, Julian Pauncefote, agreed that the United States could control a future canal, provided that it was open to all shipping and not fortified. (14) In 1900, the Hay Pauncefote Treaty gave the U.S. the right to build the Panama Canal. (13,14) McKinley was satisfied with the terms, but the Senate rejected them, demanding that the United States be allowed to fortify the canal. (14) Hay was embarrassed by the rebuff and offered his resignation, but McKinley refused it and ordered him to continue negotiations to achieve the Senate’s demands. (14) He was successful, and a new treaty was drafted and approved, but not before McKinley’s assassination in 1901. (14)


Because of its new possessions in the Pacific Ocean, the U.S. became more involved in Asian politics. (13), Even before peace negotiations began with Spain, (14) in 1898, (13) McKinley asked Congress to set up a commission to examine trade opportunities in Asia (14) and pursued an influential “Open Door” policy in China. (9,10) in which all nations would freely trade with China and none would seek to violate that nation’s territorial integrity. (14) McKinley’s administration also On September 6th 1899 Jauncey the Secretary of State sent McKinley’s ‘open door’ note to London, Paris, Berlin and Saint Petersburg. (9) demanding equal access to the profitable Chinese trade (13) which would benefit American commercial interests in (10 [OR] forcing the “Open Door” on (3) China, (3,10) and ensuring a strong U.S. position in world markets. (10) In 1900, In June (9) 1900 (9,13) a secret Chinese society known as (13) the Boxers began an uprising (9,13) It was a nationalist uprising against foreign intervention in China. (9,10) American missionaries were threatened with death and Americans and other westerners in Peking were besieged. (14) In cooperation with other western powers (13,14) (Germany, Japan, Russia, and others) (13) The USA participated in (9,10) the relief expedition against Peking (9,14) [OR] helping to put down the Boxer Rebellion. (10,13) McKinley ordered 5000 troops (13,14) to the city in June 1900 in the China Relief Expedition. (14)


Figure 7 American Troops fight Boxer Rebellion

“Non-Colonial Imperialism”

McKinley governed during a period of intense American expansionism. (4) The Supreme Court held that territory might be subjected to the jurisdiction of the United States without being incorporated into the country. (9) The constitution was not applicable in every particular to all lands over which the country exercised sovereignty. (9) This enabled the United States to develop a distinctive colonial policy and to enact legislation for the government of backward peoples where ‘a degree of paternalism was necessary’. (9)



When McKinley became President, the depression of 1893 had almost run its course and with it the extreme agitation over silver. (7) Rapid economic growth marked McKinley’s presidency. (6,9) Gold was discovered in Alaska and chemists discovered cheaper and more efficient methods of extracting the gold from low grade ores. (15) The gold production of the United States nearly doubled from $437.5 million in the Five-Year period 1897 to 1902 where the earlier average had only been $224 million: gold instead of silver began to inundate the market and diminish the demand for expansion of the currency. (15) Between 1897 and 1901 there was a return of prosperity to which (9) the increased gold production of the world (9,15) and the unusual demand abroad for American agricultural products were important contributing factors. (9) He settled decades of monetary controversy by (3) rejecting free silver, (6) and taking the country to a strict gold standard. (3,6) The Gold Standard Act (6,13) [OR] the Currency Act (9) was passed on March 14th (9,14) in 1900. (6,9) McKinley signed it with a gold pen. (14) It declared other forms of money redeemable in gold on demand and (9) providing for a gold reserve of 150 million dollars (9,15) of gold coin and bullion (15) this extended the issue of National Bank notes from 90% to a full face value of the bonds upon which they were issued (9,15) and reduced capital requirements of banks in small communities, and there was a great increase in the gold reserves. (9)


Domestically, he supported policies that benefitted American business, (3,4) including high protective tariffs (3,6) and deflationary fiscal policies (3,4) [OR] an expansionary monetary policy. (6) Soon after taking office, (10,12) deferring action on the money question, (7) he called Congress into special session to enact (7,10) higher customs duties, an effort he believed would reduce other taxes and encourage the growth of domestic industry and employment for American workers. (10) The result was the Dingley Tariff (6,10) Act (sponsored by the Maine congressman Nelson Dingley), (10) of July 24th (12) 1897. (6,12) It was the highest protective tariff in American history (7,10) up to that time. (12) It raised rates on wool, sugar, and luxury goods. (14) Its intention was to protect manufacturers and factory workers from foreign competition. (6) McKinley’s support for the Dingley Tariff strengthened his position with organized labour. (10) Yet by the end of his presidency McKinley (12,13) had modified his views on tariffs. (13) He had become a convert to commercial reciprocity among nations, recognizing that Americans must buy products from other countries in order to sustain the sale of American goods abroad. (12,13) He favoured free commerce through reciprocal trade agreements. (13)

Industrial Combinations

In the friendly atmosphere of the McKinley Administration, industrial combinations developed at an unprecedented pace. (7,8) Standard Oil especially gain large interest in New York banks and in the iron mines and transportation Lines about the Great Lakes while it extended its power over new fields of oil in the South West. (15) In general, a small group of powerful financial interests acquired holdings in other lines of business and by absorptions and community of Interest exerted great influence upon the whole business world. (15) A group of financiers headed by JP Morgan came to dominate various Southern transportation lines and the anthracite coal roads and mines, and extended their influence to the northern Pacific railway. (15) A new genius in railway financing, Edward H Harriman began an avowed plan of controlling the entire railway system of the Nation. (15) Backed by an important banking syndicate he rescued the Union Pacific from bankruptcy and with its profits as a working basis he started in to acquire connecting and competing lines. (15) Newspapers caricatured McKinley as a little boy led around by “Nursie” Hanna, the representative of the trusts. (7) Despite the Sherman antitrust act this movement culminated in the organization of the United States Steel Corporation the first billion dollar Corporation in 1900. (9) However, McKinley was not dominated by Hanna; (7) he condemned the trusts (7,13) as “dangerous conspiracies against the public good.” (7) Business trusts and monopolies had hurt competition and kept prices high for the consumers. (13) By 1901, McKinley no longer supported the growth of big business. (13) Labour shared in the general prosperity after 1898, and the length of the working day in general decreased except in special Industries. (15)


After a slump in 1893, farmers formed growers’ associations and studied the demand of the market to guide their sales. (15) Mortgaged farms were gradually freed from debt. (15) The wheat crop increased from less than 400 million bushels valued at £230 million in 1993 to 675 million valued at 392 million dollars in 1898. (15) Clarity and contentment replaced agitation in the populist West for the time and the Republican party gained the advantage of these changed conditions. (15) Land values and the price of Farm products rose. (15)

General Economic Progress

By 1900 the continental United States had a population of 76 million. (15) Aggregate real and personal wealth of 88 500 million; a per capita public debt of $14 52 and per capita money circulation of $26.94 against $21 41 in 1896. (15) bank clearing amounted to nearly 115 billion dollars against 45 billion dollars in 1894. (15) Imports of merchandise had fallen in this period while exports rose from 847 million in 1893 to 1394 million in 1900. The economic prosperity and these far-reaching processes of social change, by which the remaining natural resources of the nation were rapidly appropriated, went on contemporaneously with the extension of the activity of the nation overseas. (15)

Style of government

By using his authority as commander-in-chief, McKinley helped to strengthen the office of the presidency. (3,13) He expanded executive power and managed public opinion through his quiet manipulation of the press. (3) In 1899, Vice President Hobart died in office. (13) At this time, there was not a measure in place to replace a vice president, and so McKinley finished his first term without a vice president. (13) He had been reluctant to appoint Theodore Roosevelt, head of the New York City Police Commission and a published naval historian, to his first cabinet: stating to one Roosevelt booster, “I want peace and I am told that your friend Theodore is always getting into rows with everybody” (14) but he chose Teddy Roosevelt as his running mate for the 1900 election. (13)

Civil Rights

New state constitutions after 1890 disqualified Negro voters by educational and tax requirements so contrived as not to apply to poor whites. (15) In the wake of McKinley’s election in 1896, African Americans were hopeful of progress towards equality. (14) McKinley had spoken out against lynching while governor, and most African Americans who could vote supported him in 1896. (14) However, African Americans in northern states felt that their contributions to McKinley’s victory were overlooked; few were appointed to office. (14) There were civil rights violations, murders, and torturing of blacks. (13) McKinley was unhappy with these events but he was reluctant to return to the methods of control used during the Reconstruction. (13) The administration’s response to racial violence was minimal, causing him to lose black support. (14) Under pressure from black leaders, McKinley required the War Department to commission black officers above the rank of lieutenant. (14) McKinley toured the South in late 1898, promoting sectional reconciliation. (14) He visited Tuskegee Institute and black educator Booker T. Washington. (14) He also visited Confederate memorials. (14) In his tour of the South, McKinley did not mention the racial tensions or violence. (14) Although the President received a rapturous reception from Southern whites, many African Americans, excluded from official welcoming committees, felt alienated by the President’s words and actions. (14) Gould concluded regarding race, “McKinley lacked the vision to transcend the biases of his day and to point toward a better future for all Americans”. (14)

Second Term

He was once again nominated for President (5,7) without opposition, (12) by the Republicans in 1900. (5,7) He again campaigned against Bryan. (6,7) Bryan focused on imperialism (6,7) while McKinley quietly stood for “the full dinner pail.” (7) Other issues were protectionism, (6) free silver (6,9) and the growth of big business and illegal monopolies, called trusts. (13,14) But the major campaign issue became prosperity. (13) McKinley asserted that, “We have prosperity at home and prestige abroad.” (13) Some Democrats, called ‘gold Democrats’ or ‘sound money Democrats’ in spite of their dislike of McKinley’s policy on many points supported him in November 1900. (5) On November 6th 1900, (9) he defeated Bryan again, (6,9) receiving 292 electoral college votes against 255 for Bryan, (9) an even greater margin of victory (10,12) in both the popular and electoral votes (12) than he had obtained four years earlier. (10,12) It was a relatively easy victory: (13,14) Bryan won only four states outside the solid South, and McKinley even won Bryan’s home state of Nebraska. (14) The outcome (10,12) no doubt (12) reflected the American public’s satisfaction with the outcome of the Spanish-American War and the country’s economic prosperity. (10,12) Following his inauguration in 1901, McKinley left Washington for a tour of the western states (12) but his presidency came to a tragic end in September 1901. (7)


His second term began auspiciously, (7) although the insurrection in the Philippines continued2. (9) The 58-year-old was fresh from3 guiding the United States to victory in the Spanish-American War, and he had entered his second term of office as one of the most popular Chief Executives in decades. (11) After his second inauguration in (10,12) March (10) 1901, McKinley embarked on a tour of western states. (10,12) Throughout the journey (12) he was greeted by cheering crowds. (10,12) They attested to McKinley’s immense popularity. (12) However, the First Lady fell ill in California, causing her husband to limit his public events and cancel a series of speeches he had planned to give urging trade reciprocity. (14)

The Pan-American Exhibition

The tour of the west ended (10,12) at the Pan-American Exposition (4,7) in Buffalo, (1,2) New York, (2,3) which celebrated 100 years of progress in North and South America. (13) The Exposition boasted everything from a nine-ton elephant to a 389-foot “Electric Tower” powered by nearby Niagara Falls, but few attractions had generated as much excitement as the two-day visit of President William McKinley. (11) He gave a speech (10,11) at the World’s Fair (11) on September 5th in front of (10,11) 50,000 people (10,14) [OR] more than 50,000 admirers [OR] a record crowd of 116,000. (11) In this speech the leader who had been so closely identified with protectionism now (12) sounded an anti-protectionist note with a call for commercial reciprocity among nations. (12,14) He urged reciprocity treaties with other nations to assure American manufacturers access to foreign markets. (14) He intended the speech as a keynote to his plans for a second term. (14)

“… sensible trade arrangements which will not interrupt our home production, we shall extend the outlets for our increasing surplus. A system which provides a mutual exchange of commodities is manifestly essential to the continued and healthful growth of our export trade. We must not repose in fancied security that we can forever sell everything and buy little or nothing. If such a thing were possible, it would not be best for us or for those with whom we deal. We should take from our customers such of their products as we can use without harm to our industries and labour.” (12)

While he was speaking, one man in the crowd, (16) 28-year-old (11) Leon (5,6) F. (5) Czolgosz (5,6) (pronounced Tchollgosh) (13) hoped to assassinate McKinley. (14) He was a shy (11) deranged (7) second-generation Polish-American (6) anarchist. (4,5) He was a native of Michigan (11) an unemployed (10) and brooding former (10,11) Detroit (10) steel worker. (10,11) He had heard a speech by anarchist Emma Goldman in Cleveland, and decided to do something he believed would advance the cause. (14) He (5,6) had arrived in Buffalo only a few days earlier and purchased (11) a .32 calibre (11,13) Iver Johnson (11) revolver (11,13)—the same type of weapon that another anarchist had used to assassinate the Italian King Umberto I the previous summer. (11) He had managed to get close to the presidential podium, but did not fire, uncertain of hitting his target. (14) That same evening, the Expo put on a patriotic fireworks display that culminated with a burst of pyrotechnics that spelled out the words, “Welcome President McKinley, Chief of our Nation and Our Empire.” (11)

At the Temple of Music

McKinley’s final scheduled appearance at the Expo began the following day (11) Sept (1,3) 6th (4,6) [OR] 14th,4 (1,6) 1901, (2,3) when he attended a public meet-and-greet at (11,13) a theatre called (11) the Temple of Music. (11,13) The affable commander in chief rarely missed an opportunity to meet his constituents, (11) but this particular event had worried his staff members, (11,14) because there had been recent assassinations by anarchists in Europe, such as the assassination of King Umberto I of Italy the previous year. (14) The president’s personal secretary, George B. Cortelyou, had tried to cancel the reception on two separate occasions, but both times McKinley had insisted that it remain on the schedule (11,14) so Cortelyou arranged for additional security for the trip. (14) Despite the sweltering late-summer heat, a long (11) line of people (10,11) waited outside the Temple of Music when the reception began at 4 p.m. (11) As the theatre’s organist played a Bach sonata, the visitors came in, many of them eager for (11) a chance to meet the president and shake his hand. (11,13) After his failure to get close enough on the fifth, (14) Czolgosz was waiting (11,13) near the front of the line (11) [OR] crowd (12) of well-wishers. (11,12) In his right hand (13) wrapped in a white handkerchief (11,13) was the gun (13) [OR] the gun was concealed inside his jacket pocket. (11) “It was in my heart; there was no escape for me,” Czolgosz later said: “All those people seemed bowing to the great ruler. (11) I made up my mind to kill that ruler.” (11)

The Deed


Figure 8 Alternative rendering of Assassination

The police and soldiers which Cortelyou had added to his usual complement of Secret Service agents took little notice of Czolgosz as he slowly filed towards (11) [OR] strode up to the president (11) [OR] stood in the receiving line. (10) At around 4:07 p.m., (11) Czolgosz reached the head of the line. (14) McKinley smiled and extended his hand. (11) Czolgosz (11,13) raised his pistol—still wrapped in its white handkerchief—(11) and fired two shots (11,13) at point-blank range, (10,11) hitting McKinley in the abdomen. (14) A button deflected (11,13) one bullet that struck the president in the chest; (10,11) It hit his sternum, causing only minor damage. (11) the other bullet pierced the president’s stomach, (12,13) went through the colon and kidney, (13) and lodged in (11,13) the muscles of (13) his back. (11,13) “There was an instant of almost complete silence, like the hush that follows a clap of thunder,” the New York Times later wrote. (11) “The president stood stock still, a look of hesitancy, almost of bewilderment, on his face. (11) Then he retreated a step while a pallor began to steal over his features. (11) The multitude seemed only partially aware that something serious had happened.” (11) The stillness was only broken when James “Big Jim” Parker, a tall African American man who had been waiting in line, punched Czolgosz and prevented him from firing a third shot. (11) A host of soldiers and detectives also pounced on the assassin and began beating him to a pulp. (11) It took an order from McKinley before they finally stopped and dragged Czolgosz from the room, (11,14) a request that may have saved his assassin’s life. (14) [OR] He also told the aide not to let the crowd hurt the assassin. (13) By then, blood was pouring from the president’s stomach and darkening his white formal vest. (11) As the president was awaiting medical aid (13) McKinley urged his aides (14) [OR] his secretary Cortelyou (11,13) to break the news gently to Ida, (11,14) saying “My wife,” Be careful how you tell her—oh, be careful!” (11,13) Just a few minutes after the shooting, McKinley was carried from the Temple of Music and (11) taken to (10,11) the Pan-American Exposition’s (11) [OR] rushed to a Buffalo (10,12) hospital (10,11) for emergency surgery. (11,13) The only qualified doctor that could be found was a gynaecologist, but the president was nevertheless rushed into the operating theatre for emergency surgery. (11) [OR] Of the doctors qualified to perform the surgery at the hospital at that time, Dr. Mann was chosen as the best. (13) The other had struck his abdomen and passed clean through his stomach. (11) The surgeon managed to suture the stomach wounds and stop the bleeding, (11) but he was unable to locate (11,13) the second (14) bullet, (11,13) which he assumed was lodged somewhere in the president’s back. (11) One of the items on display at the exhibition was a (13,14) primitive (14) X-ray machine, (13,14) recently invented by Thomas Edison. (13) Ironically, doctors had decided not to use Edison’s machine to find the bullet (13,14) because they were not sure of what side effects it might have had on the president. (13)

The Death of President McKinley

McKinley was stitched up (13) and sent to the Milburn House, (14) the home of the president of the Exposition, to recover. (11,13) Even with the .32 calibre slug still inside him, McKinley seemed to be on the mend in the days after the shooting. (11,13) Doctors gave enthusiastic updates on his condition. (10,11) Leech wrote, It is difficult to interpret the optimism with which the President’s physicians looked for his recovery. (14) There was obviously the most serious danger that his wounds would become septic. (14) In that case, he would almost certainly die, since drugs to control infection did not exist … (14) Prominent New York City physician Dr. McBurney was by far the worst offender in showering sanguine assurances on the correspondents. (14) As the only big-city surgeon on the case, he was eagerly questioned and quoted, and his rosy prognostications largely contributed to the delusion of the American public. (14) Newspapers reported that he was awake, alert and even reading the newspaper. (11) Members of the Cabinet, who had rushed to Buffalo on hearing the news, dispersed. (14) Vice President Roosevelt departed on a camping trip to the Adirondacks. (11, 14) “You may say that I am absolutely sure the president will recover,” he told reporters. (11) But the President took a turn for the worse, (10,11) and by the morning of (14) September 13th (11,14) his condition had become increasingly desperate. (10,11) Unknown to the doctors, (14) gangrene had formed around his wounds (10,11) on the walls of the president’s stomach and brought on a severe case of blood poisoning. (11,14) Specialists were summoned; although at first some doctors hoped that McKinley might survive with a weakened heart, by afternoon they knew the case was hopeless. (14) In a matter of hours, he grew weak and began losing consciousness. (11) He drifted in and out of consciousness all day; when awake he was the model patient. (14) By evening, McKinley too knew he was dying, “It is useless, gentlemen. I think we ought to have prayer.” (14) Relatives and friends gathered around the death bed. (14) The First Lady sobbed over him, “I want to go, too. I want to go, too.” (14) Her husband replied, “We are all going, we are all going. God’s will be done, not ours” and with final strength put an arm around her. (14) He may also have sung part of his favourite hymn, “Nearer, My God, to Thee”, although other accounts have her singing it softly to him. (14) Eight days after the shooting, (1,4) in the early morning hours (11,12) at 2:15 a.m. (11,14) on September 14th, (1,6) he died, (1,3) with his wife at his side (11) six months into his second term. (1,3) He was the third president to be assassinated, the others were Lincoln and Garfield. (13) Vice President Theodore Roosevelt, (6,10) rushed back to Buffalo and took the oath of office as president. (14) Mark Hanna (12) McKinley’s lifelong friend, political mentor, and manager (4) had reluctantly accepted (14) Roosevelt’s nomination for that position (14) although sneeringly referring to him as “that damned cowboy”. (12)


Execution of Czolgosz

By the time of McKinley’s death, Leon Czolgosz had already spent several days in a Buffalo jail cell undergoing interrogation by police. (11) He admitted having done the shooting. (10,11) He said he had pulled the trigger out of a desire to contribute to the anarchist cause. (11) “I don’t believe in the Republican form of government, and I don’t believe we should have any rulers,” he said in his confession. (11) “It is right to kill them.” (11) Czolgosz claimed that he had stalked McKinley across Buffalo for two days and had nearly shot him during his arrival at the train station and his September 5th speech at the fairgrounds. (11) He was also adamant that he had acted alone. (11) “I killed President McKinley because I done my duty,” (11) [OR] because he was the “enemy of the people.” (10) Czolgosz was only nominally connected to the American anarchist movement—certain groups had even suspected him of being a police spy—but his confession led to a sweeping roundup of political radicals. (11) In Chicago, a dozen staff members from the anarchist newspaper “Free Society” were arrested. (11) On September 10th, police also picked up the anarchist firebrand Emma Goldman, whose speeches Czolgosz had cited as a key influence in his decision to assassinate McKinley. Goldman and the others were all eventually released, but (11) justice came swiftly for Czolgosz. (11,14) His murder trial began on September 23rd. (11) It was a little more than a week after McKinley’s demise, (11,14) and he was found guilty and sentenced to death (11,13) just three days later. (11) On 29th (11,14) October, 1901, Czolgosz was executed (10,11) by the electric chair (11,13) in Buffalo [OR] at New York’s Auburn Prison. (11) “I killed the president for the good of the labouring people, the good people,” he said in the moments before the sentence was carried out. (11) “I am not sorry for my crime.” (11)

Funeral and Burial of McKinley


While William McKinley was eventually overshadowed by his more famous successor, Theodore Roosevelt, (11) his assassination prompted a worldwide outpouring of grief. (11,13) In Europe, the British King Edward VII and other monarchs declared national periods of mourning for the fallen president. (11) The stock market, faced with sudden uncertainty, suffered a steep decline—almost unnoticed in the mourning. (14) The president’s body was first moved to the Buffalo City Hall to be viewed by the public for several days. (13) The nation then focused its attention on the casket that made its way by train, first to Washington, where it, and in the Capitol, and then was taken to Canton. (14) A sea of sympathizers (11,14) amounting to a hundred thousand (14) later came to view (11,14) McKinley’s body as it lay in state (4,11) first in the East Room of the Executive Mansion , and then in state (14) in the Capitol Rotunda (11,14) in Washington D.C., (13) many having waited hours in the rain (14) on September 17th, (11) [OR] for two days. (13) There was a widespread expectation that Ida McKinley would not long survive her husband; one family friend stated, as William McKinley lay dying, that they should be prepared for a double funeral. (14) This did not occur. (14) McKinley’s wife, Ida, (4,13) returned to Canton. (13,14) accompanying her husband on the funeral train. (14) Whole cities ground to a halt to pay their respects as his funeral train passed by on its (11,14) circuitous journey (14) to his final resting place in Canton, Ohio. (4,11) Leech noted “it was a cruel ordeal for the woman who huddled in a compartment of the funeral train, praying that the Lord would take her with her Dearest Love”. (14) 100,000 people paid their respects at the Stark County Courthouse on September 18th.5 (14) He was buried at Westlawn Cemetery (13,14) on September 18th. (13) [OR] The following day, a funeral service was held at the First Methodist Church; the casket was then sealed and taken to the McKinley house, where relatives paid their final respects. (14) It was then transported to the receiving vault at West Lawn Cemetery in Canton, to await the construction of the memorial to McKinley already being planned. (14) His wife Ida was thought too weak to attend the services in Washington or Canton, although she listened at the door to the service for her husband in her house on North Market Street. (14) She remained in Canton for the remainder of her life, (11,13) with a sister caring for her. (13) She set up a shrine in her house, and often visited the receiving vault, until (14) her death (11,13) on May 26th (13,14), 1907. (4,13)

McKinley National Memorial

Mark Hanna and some of McKinley’s friends immediately began planning a suitable memorial. (4) They chose a site in Canton’s Westlawn Cemetery that McKinley had once suggested would be an appropriate location for a soldiers’ and sailors’ memorial. (4) The McKinley National Memorial Association, organized in 1901, purchased the site, and appealed to the public for the $600,000 needed to create the memorial. (4) In the event nearly a million dollars was pledged by contributors or allocated from public funds for the construction of McKinley memorials in the year after his death. (14) In 1904, Ohio adopted his trademark scarlet carnation as its official state flower. (13) Construction of the large marble monument (14) began in 1905. (4) Nine different States donated materials used in the memorial. (4) The sprawling tomb complex features a domed mausoleum (11) on a hillside overlooking the city of Canton. (14) The memorial includes a bronze statue that depicts McKinley giving his final speech at the Pan-American Exposition on September 5, 1901—the day before his fateful meeting with Leon Czolgosz. (11) It was completed in 1907, (4,14) only 5 months after Ida’s death, and dedicated by President Roosevelt on September 30th, 1907. (14) The president’s remains were moved there (11,13) in October 1907. (13) He is buried with his wife (4,13) and young daughters (13,14) in the memorial chamber. (4)


He was a bland man, with an admirable personal life, from his simple Midwestern upbringing to his Civil War heroism to his brave comportment just moments before his death by assassination. (3) His biographer, H. Wayne Morgan remarks that McKinley ‘died the most beloved president in history’. (14) As an innovator of American interventionism and pro-business sentiment, McKinley’s presidency is generally considered above average, (6) [OR] He does not register large in either public memory or in historians’ rankings. (3) In them he has generally been placed near the middle, often trailing contemporaries such as Hayes and Cleveland. (14) Like Cleveland he lacked the imagination to perceive and the desire to voice the aspirations and demands that had been gathering for so many years for legislation and Executive Action to deal with the problem of effective regulation of the economic forces that were transforming American Society. (15) He paved the way for the bold and flamboyant leadership of his famous successor, Teddy Roosevelt, who built on his accomplishments (3) (and got credit for them). (3,6) He has suffered from political correctness: in 1896, a gold prospector had given McKinley’s name to Denali, the tallest mountain in North America at 20,310 feet (6,190 m). (14) The Alaska Board of Geographic Names changed the name of the mountain back to Denali in 1975, which is what it was called by locals. (14) Similarly, Denali National Park was known as Mount McKinley National Park until December 2, 1980, when it was changed by legislation signed by President Jimmy Carter. (14)


Books 7 and 8 are substantially identical, so 8 was ignored.

  1. 47 Wikipedia short summary https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_McKinley
  2. 50 Penguin Encyclopaedia
  3. 239 Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32866871-president-mckinley
  4. 239 https://www.nps.gov/places/william-mckinley-tomb.htm
  5. 265 Chambers Biographical Dictionary
  6. 500 Wikipedia summary https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_McKinley
  7. 568 Whitehouse https://www.whitehouse.gov/about-the-white-house/presidents/william-mckinley/
  8. Ignored
  9. 931 W. Langer, Encyclopaedia of World History
  10. 1072 HistoryDotCom https://www.history.com/topics/us-presidents/william-mckinley
  11. 1392 https://www.history.com/news/the-assassination-of-president-william-mckinley
  12. Audrey McKinley.docx https://www.britannica.com/biography/William-McKinley
  13. 2165 McKLib https://www.mcklib.org/content/biography
  14. 12200 WikiBig https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_McKinley
  15. 15 Encyclopaedia Britannica 1911


1 Which (12) says is characteristic of his imperialist Foreign Policy

2 Aguinaldo was captured in March 1901, but it was not until April 1902 that the insurrection was finally brought to an end. (9)

3off of’

4 He was shot on the sixth and died on 14th.

5 Thus having taken no days to travel from Washington to Ohio?


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