Anarchy in Its Relations to Crime [excerpt]
Czolgosz, the slayer
of President McKinley, had a somewhat indefinite history. So far
as could be learned, he had an extremely morbid period of pubescence.
He had never been considered well-balanced mentally, although there
was never any suspicion of insanity. He had always been solitary
and unsocial in his habits, taciturn, and somewhat morose. He was
at one time an ardent advocate of State socialism, and enthusiastically
accepted McKinley’s doctrine that opening the large mills would
necessarily make labor in general prosperous. He was a Pole by birth,
and had a long line of revolutionary ancestry behind him. The Polish
race of all others is the most likely to advocate revolution and
assassination as “reform” measures. Long years of oppression, and
reaction against it, are responsible for this trait. The “removal”
of political and social obstacles was, therefore, an inborn principle
with Czolgosz. What heredity had begun education completed, for
he was trained in Polish parochial schools. His grievance against
McKinley must have been based upon general rather than personal
grounds. He believed that McKinley had broken his promise by failing
to open the mills. To the assassin this seemed to be due to perverse
volition on the President’s part. He evidently gave both the mill
question and Mr. McKinley’s responsibility in the matter undue importance.
That he was insane seems probable to the author, although this is
not so plain as would be the case with an American similarly placed.
The latter has not so much of the revolutionary psychology. An education
out of harmony with his environment might explain the murderer’s
perverted ideas. I do not believe that Czolgosz was an anarchist,
although the matter of nomenclature is of little moment in the face
of so terrible a crime as the assassination of McKinley. I protest,
however, against obscuring true causes by a fallacious nomenclature.
If all the anarchists in the world were slain, assassins of crowned
heads and presidents  would
still be at hand. The name by which each would be known would matter
but little, either to society at large or to our large army of degenerates.
Elnikoff, who slew the Czar, Alexander II., was styled a nihilist.
He would have fitted the rôle of anarchist equally well.
Czolgosz was considered an anarchist
because he claimed to be one after the assassination. The same line
of reasoning should settle the identity of John Alexander Dowie,
who claims to be John the Baptist. The assassin knew nothing of
anarchistic doctrines, and was repudiated by both the philosophic
and destructivist branches of that cult. His claim was based upon
the suggestion afforded by anarchistic literature, his egotism,
which impelled him to enlarge the importance of his deed, and, in
a sense, upon cowardice. The suggestion to assassinate and the suggestion
that he was an anarchist were simultaneous, and founded upon radical
expressions in anarchistic publications.
Whether a fair study of Czolgosz was
possible in the state of public excitement and resentment is open
to question. A comparison of the rapidity with which his case was
hurried through, with the drag of ordinary murder trials, is suggestive.
That facial and cranial asymmetry
were marked in Czolgosz his photographs plainly show. This, irrespective
of the bearing it may have had upon his case.
A distinguished alienist, writing
of Czolgosz, says,¹—
“His interest in anarchism appears
to have been of late growth and foreign to the ordinary current
of his life, and played but a small part in it until after the
crime, when he said he was an anarchist, and his statements
were accepted as a satisfactory explanation. Certainly it was
most extraordinary that the man who committed the crime, and
was at once branded as an anarchist, should have been publicly
denounced in the leading anarchist publication of the country
but five days before as a spy and dangerous character, not to
be trusted by anarchists.
“I believe that he was dominated
by a delusion, as stated by the expert for the defence, the
delusion of a man of unsound mind, which was much broader than
his belief that the President was an enemy of the working people.
Not only that, but the President was going around 
the country deceiving people and shouting ‘prosperity’ when
there was no prosperity for the poor man. Then, as he was also
told by an anarchist leader, things were getting worse and worse,
and something must be done; he did not believe in the Republican
form of government; and there should not be any rulers. For
all these reasons, he was himself called on to do something.
This, then, was the essence of the delusion, that he had a duty
to perform, which was to kill the President, because he was
the enemy of the good working people, and things were getting
worse and worse.
“Speaking from the stand-point
of the medical expert, it is to me very difficult to believe
that any American citizen of sound mind could plan and execute
such a deed as the assassination of the President, and remain
impervious to all influences after his arrest, and up to the
time of the of the execution.”
says, in reference to the act,—
“It may first be observed that
acts themselves indicate the mental condition of the actors
when all the circumstances are known. Up to the age of twenty-eight,
and after a long record of an abnormally retiring, peaceful
disposition, Czolgosz suddenly appears as a great criminal.
Had he been sane, this act would imply an infraction of the
law of normal growth, which is logically inconceivable. Such
a monstrous conception and impulse as the wanton murder of the
President of the United States, arising in the mind of so insignificant
a citizen, without his being either insane or a degenerate,
could be nothing short of a miracle, for the reason that we
require like causes to produce like results. To assume that
he was sane is to assume that he did a sane act,—i.e.,
one based upon facts and having a rational purpose.”