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Source: The Attempted Assassination of Ex-President Theodore Roosevelt
Source type: book
Document type: book chapter
Document title: “Schrank Describes Shooting” [chapter 17]
Author(s): Remey, Oliver E.; Cochems, Henry F.; Bloodgood, Wheeler P.
Edition: Second edition
Publisher: Progressive Publishing Company
Place of publication: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Year of publication: 1912
Pagination: 202-07 (excerpt below includes only pages 203 and 204-07)

Remey, Oliver E., Henry F. Cochems, and Wheeler P. Bloodgood. “Schrank Describes Shooting” [chapter 17]. The Attempted Assassination of Ex-President Theodore Roosevelt. 2nd ed. Milwaukee: Progressive Publishing, 1912: pp. 202-07.
excerpt of chapter
John F. Schrank; Theodore Roosevelt (assassination attempts); McKinley assassination (related tragedies); McKinley assassination (personal response); McKinley assassination (conspiracy theories); Theodore Roosevelt (criticism).
Named persons
Julius Caesar; Leon Czolgosz; John T. Janssen [in notes]; William McKinley; Theodore Roosevelt; George Washington.
The excerpt below comprises two nonconsecutive portions of the chapter (p. 203 and pp. 204-07). Omission of text within the excerpt is denoted with a bracketed indicator (e.g., [omit]).

The police chief referred to below in the opening sentence is Milwaukee’s John T. Janssen.

From title page: Written, Compiled, and Edited by Oliver E. Remey, Henry F. Cochems, Wheeler P. Bloodgood.


Schrank Describes Shooting [excerpt]

     Some of his statements to the Chief of Police, are as follows, as extracted from document submitted herewith, marked Exhibit 3.
     “Q. Why did you want to meet him?
     A. Because I wanted to put him out of the way. A man that wants a third term has no right to live.
     Q. That is, you wanted to kill him?
     A. I did.
     Q. Have you any other reason in wanting to kill him?
     A. I have.
     Q. What is that?
     A. I had a dream several years ago that Mr. McKinley appeared to me and he told me that Mr. Roosevelt is practically his real murderer, and not this here Czolgosz.” [203] [omit] [204]

     While in jail the prisoner prepared a written defense, which we submit herewith as Exhibit 4, and we extract certain sentences from the same, as follows:
     “Gentlemen of the Jury, I appeal to you as men of honor, I greet you Americans and countrymen and fathers of sons and daughters. I wish to apologize to the community of Milwaukee for having caused on October 14th last, great excitement, bitter feeling, and expenses.”

*          *          *

     “Gentlemen of the Jury: When on September 14th last I had a vision, I looked into the dying eyes of the late President McKinley, when a voice called me to avenge his death, I was convinced that my life was coming soon to an end, and I was at [204][205] once happy to know that my real mission on this earth was to die for my country and the cause of Republicanism.”

*          *          *

     “You see that I have appeared here today without assistance of a counsellor [sic] at law, without any assistance save that of God, the Almighty, who is ever with him who is deserted, because I am not here to defend myself nor my actions.”

*          *          *

     “The law I have violated for which you will punish me is not in any statute book.”

*          *          *

     “The shot at Milwaukee which created an echo in all parts of the world was not a shot fired at the citizen Roosevelt, not a shot at an ex-president, not a shot at the candidate of a so-called prog. pty. (Progressive party), not a shot to influence the pending election, not a shot to gain for me notoriety; no, it was simply to once and forever establish the fact that any man who hereafter aspires to a third presidential term will do so at the risk of his life.”
     “If I do not defend tradition I cannot defend the country in case of war. You may as well send every patriot to prison.”
     (As showing the erratic reasoning of the defendant, the following passage, intimating that the assassination of President McKinley was a part of a conspiracy to elevate Colonel Roosevelt to a permanent control of the destinies of the United States, we quote further:)
     “Political murders have occurred quite often, committed by some power that works in the dark and only too frequently of late the assassin was classed as an anarchist, but the real instigators could never be brought to justice. Whoever the direct murderer of President McKinley has been it could never be proven that he has ever been affiliated with any anarchistic or similar society, but we may well conclude that the man who in years after willingly violated the third unwritten law of the country whenever he thought it profitable to change his creed while president, perhaps to the mother of monarchies.”
     (From the remarks of the prisoner in our examination of him, we find by “the mother of monarchies” that he refers to the Roman Catholic Church.) [205][206]
     We further quote:
     “Such was his fear that his machine, built up in 7½ years will be destroyed over night [sic], that he threatened not to leave the chair unless he were allowed to nominate his successor.”
     “Gentlemen of the Jury: The 3t (third termer) ‘never again will I run for pres.’ (president) has a parallel in the history of Rome. Whoever read the history of Julius Caesar knows that this smart politician while elected dictator managed to become so popular with the people that they offered him the kingly crown, but J. Caesar knew that he had to bide his time, that the rest of Senators know of his ambition, and after refusing three times he knew they would offer it to him a fourth time, and when then he accepted it he was murdered for ambition’s sake.”
     “He” (Colonel Roosevelt) “was ambitiously waiting for the Government at Washington to start a military intervention in Mexico, but the leaders of the Republican party feared that the 3t (third termer) would muster an army of volunteer Rough Riders and return at election as the conquering hero.”
     “The danger even more grave than civil war is the possibility of intervention of foreign powers, who may help the 3t (third termer) in order to keep the Union disunited and separated.” * * * * * *
     “We would at once realize that we are surrounded by a pack of hungry wolves ready to destroy this hated Republic, ready to destroy Monroe Doctrine, ready to annex the Panama Canal and the great land of the brave and free, the home many millions free people [sic], the dream of all heroes and martyrs for political freedom to 1848 would have ceased to be owing to the ambitions of one man, and one man’s rule. I hope that the shot at Milwaukee has awakened the patriotism of the American nation.”
     “I have been accused of having selected a state where capital punishment is abolished. I would say that I did not know the laws of any state I travelled [sic] through. It would be ridiculous to fear death after the act as I expected to die during the act, and not live to tell the story, and if I knew that my death would have made the third term tradition more sacred, I am sorry I could not die for my country.”

*          *          * [206][207]

     “Now, Honorable Men of the Jury, I wish to say no more, in the name of God go and do your duty, and only countries who ask admission by popular vote and accept the popular vote never wage a war of conquest murder for to steal abolishes opportunity for ambitious adv. (adventurers). [sic]
     “All political adventurers and military leaders have adopted the career of conquering heroes wholesale murder, wholesale robbers called national aggrandizement [sic]. Prison for me is like martyrdom to me, like going to war. Before me is the spirit of George Washington, behind me, that of McKinley.”
     (The last sentence the prisoner explained, was written hastily, and he expected to revise it.)



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