Source: This Country of Ours
Source type: book
Document type: book chapter
Document title: “The United States Becomes a World Power” [chapter 20]
Author(s): Mabie, Hamilton Wright
Publisher: John C. Winston Co.
Place of publication: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Year of publication: 1902
Pagination: 383-402 (excerpt below includes only pages 401-02)
|Mabie, Hamilton Wright. “The United States Becomes a World Power” [chapter 20]. This Country of Ours. Philadelphia: John C. Winston, 1902: pp. 383-402.|
|excerpt of chapter|
|McKinley assassination; Leon Czolgosz.|
|George B. Cortelyou; Leon Czolgosz; William McKinley; John G. Milburn.|
From title page: This Country of Ours: Its Great Achievements and Wonderful Progress from the Fifteenth to the Twentieth Century: A Fascinating and Interesting Story of All the Great Events in American History from the Early Discoveries to the Making of Cuba a Republic.
From title page: Embellished with Over 150 Fine Engravings by the Best American Artists, Illustrating All That Is Interesting and Inspiring in Our History.
From title page: By Hamilton Wright Mabie, LL.B., Lit.D., Editor of “The Making of America,” “Our New England,” Etc.; Assisted by a Corps of Special Writers on Various Phases of Our History.
The United States Becomes a World Power [excerpt]
On the afternoon of Friday, September
6, 1901, this country and the whole world were thrown into consternation as
the news was flashed over the wires that President McKinley had fallen by the
hand of an assassin. That day had been appointed as Presidents’ Day at the Pan-American
Exposition held at Buffalo, and elaborate preparations had been made to make
this the event of the Exposition, all the high dignitaries of State, including
the representatives of all the American governments, were in attendance. On
September 5th the President delivered a speech, which was easily his greatest
effort, advocating reciprocity in trade and greater encouragement to commerce.
On the morning of the 6th, with his wife and party, he had visited Niagara Falls
and inspected the Exposition. After luncheon he was to hold a public reception
in the Temple of Music to meet his countrymen and take them by the hand. No
trouble was anticipated, although precautions had been taken to avoid mishaps.
President McKinley, assisted by President Milburn and others, received the people
as they moved by in a long, continuous line, shaking hands and smiling upon
each. The would-be assassin was a rather tall, boyish-looking fellow, apparently
25 years old; about his right hand was wrapped a handkerchief, giving the impression
to the officers that his hand was injured, especially as he extended his left
across the right to shake hands with the President.
Innocently facing the assassin, the President smiled as he extended his right hand to meet the left of the man before him. As the youth extended his left hand he suddenly raised his right, the one which held the pistol, and before any one knew what was transpiring two shots rang out, one following the other after the briefest portion of a second. For the first moment there was not a sound.
The President drew his right hand quickly to his chest, raised his head, and his eyes looked upward and rolled. He swerved a moment, reeled and was caught in the arms of Secretary Cortelyou to his right. Catching himself for the briefest second, President McKinley, whose face was now the whiteness of death, looked at the assassin as the officers and soldiers bore him to the floor, and said, feebly: “May God forgive him.” The President was first helped to a chair but was quickly removed on a stretcher to the emergency hospital, and all the eminent surgeons within reach were summoned.
Two wounds were located, one in the breast, which was not serious, and the other in the abdomen, which proved fatal. There was every hope at first that he would recover, but after some days there came a relapse, and, although all that surgical and medical skill could do was done, President McKinley passed  away early on the morning of September 14th. His last words were memorable: “It’s God’s way; His will, not ours, be done.”
The world joined the American people in mourning the beloved President. He was given a state funeral at Washington, September 17th, and buried at Canton, his home city, September 19th, amid impressive ceremonies.
The man who assassinated President
McKinley was Leon Czolgosz, a Russian Pole and an anarchist. At the time of
the assassination he was described as follows: “He is twenty-eight years of
age, slim, of dark complexion, with an intelligent and rather pleasing face.
His features are straight and regular. He dresses with considerable neatness.
There is nothing in his appearance that would attract unusual attention. He
is not a suspicious-looking person.”
Czolgosz’s parents were born in Russian Poland. They came to this country about 1865 as immigrants, and settled in the West. Czolgosz was born in Detroit, and hence was not an immigrant. He received some education in the common schools of that city, but left school and went to work when a boy as a blacksmith’s apprentice. Later he read all the socialistic literature which he could obtain, and finally began to take part in socialistic meetings. In time he became fairly well known in Chicago, Cleveland and Detroit, not only as a socialist, but as an anarchist of the most bitter type.
Czolgosz was placed on trial in Buffalo, September 23d, and was given able counsel to protect his interests. After an unsensational and impartial trial he was found guilty, and, on September 26th, he was sentenced to die in the electric chair at Auburn Prison, in the State of New York. The execution took place in the early morning of October 29, 1901, in the presence of twenty-two witnesses and the prison officials.