Source: United States: From the Discovery of the North American Continent Up to the Present Time
Source type: book
Document type: book chapter
Document title: “McKinley’s End and the Rise of Roosevelt” [chapter 30]
Author(s): Hawthorne, Julian; Schouler, James; Andrews, E. Benjamin
Volume number: 9
Publisher: Co-Operative Publication Society
Place of publication: New York, New York
Year of publication: 1904
Pagination: 289-310 (excerpt below includes only pages 289-93 and 294-97)
|Hawthorne, Julian, James Schouler, and E. Benjamin Andrews. “McKinley’s End and the Rise of Roosevelt” [chapter 30]. United States: From the Discovery of the North American Continent Up to the Present Time. Vol. 9. New York: Co-Operative Publication Society, 1904: pp. 289-310.|
|excerpt of chapter|
|McKinley assassination; William McKinley (political character); Leon Czolgosz; anarchism; Theodore Roosevelt.|
|James G. Blaine; Andrew Carnegie; Leon Czolgosz; Chauncey M. Depew; George Dewey; Edward VII; James A. Garfield; Emma Goldman; Charles J. Guiteau; William Henry Harrison; George F. Hoar; Thomas Jonathan Jackson; Fitzhugh Lee; Robert E. Lee; Abraham Lincoln; Ida McKinley; William McKinley; John G. Milburn; Theodore Roosevelt; William M. Stewart; George Washington; Joseph Wheeler; Leonard Wood.|
The following excerpt comprises two nonconsecutive portions of this chapter (pp. 289-93 and pp. 294-97).
According to the title page, E. Benjamin Andrews is responsible for authorship of those parts of this book concering the years 1866 to 1904, which includes this chapter.
McKinley’s End and the Rise of Roosevelt [excerpt]
5, 1901, President McKinley, present upon invitation at the Pan-American Exposition
in Buffalo, delivered an address which proved to be his last public utterance.
It was memorable both as a sagacious survey of affairs and as indicating some
modification of his well-known tariff opinions in the direction of freer commercial
intercourse with nations under other flags.
We could not, he implied, forever sell everything and buy little or nothing. The period of exclusiveness, he said, was past. Reciprocity treaties were in harmony with the spirit of the times, measures of retaliation were not. If some of our tariffs were no longer needed for revenue or to protect home industries why should they not be employed to extend and promote our markets abroad? The President expressed further the conviction that in the same commercial interest we must encourage our merchant marine and construct both a Pacific cable and an Isthmian canal.
These projects of Mr. McKinley’s statesmanship, approved by nearly the entire public, he did not live to put in execution. On his second day at Buffalo, Friday, September 6th, about four in the afternoon, the President stood in the Temple of Music on the Fair grounds, shaking hands with hundreds as they filed past. A boyish workman came  along, his right hand in a handkerchief. Mr. McKinley extended his hand to the youth’s unencumbered left. The bandaged right arm quickly rose, two shots rang on the air, and Mr. McKinley staggered back into the arms of a bystander, grievously wounded. The President’s first thoughts were for others. He requested that the news be broken gently to Mrs. McKinley, and expressed fear lest the occurrence should injure the Exposition. As cries of “Lynch him!” arose from the maddened crowd, the stricken chief begged those about him to see that no hurt befell the assassin. The latter was forthwith taken into custody to await the result of his deed. President McKinley was with equal despatch conveyed to the Emergency Hospital, where his wounds were probed and dressed.
Spite of considerable weakness and too rapid heart-action, the symptoms for several days gave strong hope that the patient would recover. At the home of Mr. Milburn, President of the Exposition, whither President McKinley had been carried, he received the tenderest care and the most skilful treatment. The Cabinet officers were reassured, and left Buffalo. Vice-President Roosevelt retired to the Adirondacks. The President himself, vigorous and naturally sanguine, did not give up hope till Friday, a week from the date of his injury.
Then his condition became alarming. Digestion ceased, nourishment even by injection became impossible, traces of septic poison appeared. By night the world knew that McKinley was a dying man. In the evening he regained consciousness. “Good-by, good-by, all,” he said. “It is God’s way; His will be done.” “Nearer, my God, to Thee; e’en tho’ it be a cross that raiseth me,” he murmured. Before the dawn of Saturday the soul was loosed from its suffering body.
After a simple funeral at the Milburn mansion the remains lay at the Buffalo City Hall till midnight, then for a day at the Washington Capitol, whence they were borne to the old home at Canton, O. 
September 19th, the day of the interment, was feelingly observed all over the country and even in foreign parts. In no considerable American town could one building hold the mourning concourse. By King Edward’s orders special commemorative services were held in Westminster Cathedral. Messages of condolence from the four quarters of the globe poured in upon the widow. For five minutes telegraph clicks and cable flashes ceased, and for ten minutes the wheels upon many lines of steam and street railway stood still.
It was too early to determine the exact altitude at which the name of William McKinley would stand upon the roll of America’s illustrious men, yet all but the narrowest partisans believed that it would be high, where all posterity could see and read it. Ardent eulogists made him the peer of Washington and Lincoln. Some thought this extravagant, but few if any regarded it strange. The President had been taxed with opportunism, with inconsistency, and with partiality to moneyed interests, but sober review, after the man was gone, removed emphasis from these charges. Some of his views had certainly changed. His altered attitude concerning silver was much remarked upon, but this, as pointed out in a previous chapter, was apparent only and not a modification of principle. If, in regard to protection, he at last swung to Blaine’s position favoring reciprocity, which, as the author of the McKinley Bill, he had been understood to oppose, it should be remembered that the United States had meantime become a mighty exporter of manufactured products, competing effectively with England, Germany, and France, the world over.
Mr. McKinley’s progressive insight into the tariff question betrayed his mental activity and hospitality, as his final deliverances thereupon exhibited fearlessness. None knew better than he that what he said at Buffalo would be challenged in the name of party orthodoxy. Even greater firmness was manifest, when at an earlier date, speaking in Savannah, he ranked Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson  as among America’s “great” sons. With this brave tribute should be mentioned his nomination of the ex-Confederate Generals FitzHugh Lee and Joseph Wheeler as Major-Generals in the United States Army. Such words and deeds showed skilled leadership also. Each was fittingly timed so as best to escape or fend criticism and to impress the public.
Mr. McKinley’s apparent vacillation, also his complaisance toward men and interests representing wealth, was due in no slight degree to an exquisite finesse in virtue of which he stooped to conquer. He led by seeming to follow, or by yielding in inch took an ell. He possessed by inheritance a quick sense of the manufacturer’s point of view, for his father and grandfather had been ironmasters. He also had a certain conservative instinct, characteristic of his party, which deemed the counsel of broadcloth wiser than the clamor of rags, and equally patriotic withal. Notwithstanding this, history can not but pronounce McKinley’s love of country, his whole Americanism, in fact, as sincere, sturdy, and democratic as Abraham Lincoln’s.
The deceased President’s power and breadth as a statesman were greatly increased by the responsibilities of the Presidency. Before his accession to that office he had helped shape but one great public measure, the McKinley Bill, and his speeches upon his chosen theme, protection, were more earnest than varied or profound. But witness the largeness of view marking the directions of April 7, 1900, to the Taft Philippine Commission: “The Commission should bear in mind that the government which they are establishing is designed not for our satisfaction or for the expression of our theoretical views, but for the happiness, peace, and prosperity of the people of the Philippine Islands, and the measures adopted should be made to conform to their customs, their habits, and even their prejudices, to the fullest extent consistent with the accomplishment of the indispensable requisites of just and effective government.”
President McKinley judged men well. His appointments were nearly always wise. He managed discreetly in crises.  He saw the whole of a situation as few statesmen have done, penetrating to details amid obscure aspects which others, even experts, had overlooked. During the Spanish War his advice was always helpful and at points vital. Courteous to all foreign powers, and falling into no spectacular jangles with any, he was obsequious to none.
The certainty that Mr. McKinley’s name
would be forever remembered with honor was not due merely or mainly to the fact
that his Administration marked a great climacteric in our national career. His
intimates in office and in public life unanimously testified that in shaping
the nation’s new destiny he played an active and not a passive rôle. He dominated
his Cabinet, diligently attending to the advice each member offered, but by
no means always following it. Party bosses seeking to lead him were themselves
led, oftenest without being aware of it, to accomplish his wishes.
As a practical politician, in the better sense of the word, McKinley was a master. Repeatedly, at critical junctures, he saved his following from rupture, letting the opposition become an impotent rout. What contrast in American political warfare more striking than the pitiful demoralization of the Democracy at the end of the 1900 campaign, compared with the closed ranks and solid front of the Republican  party! Anti-imperialists like Carnegie and Hoar, silver men like Senator Stewart, low-tariff Republicans of the West, all kept step and held aloft the McKinley banner.
The discipline proceeded from the candidate’s influence, from his harmonizing personal leadership, exercised not through oratory, for he had none of the tricks of speech, not even the easy knack of story-telling, but by the mere force of his will and his wisdom.
Mr. McKinley’s private character was exemplary. His life-long devotion to an invalid wife, his fidelity to friends, the charm, consideration, and tact in his demeanor toward every one, and, above all, the Christian sublimity of his last days, created at once a foundation and a crown for his fame.
The assassin, Leon Czolgosz, was promptly indicted, placed on trial, convicted, sentenced, and executed, all without any of the unseemly incidents attending the trial of Guiteau after Garfield’s assassination. These rapid but perfectly orderly and dispassionate proceedings were a great credit to the State of New York.
The murderer was born in this country, of Russian-Polish parentage, in 1875. He received some education, was apprenticed to a blacksmith in Detroit, and later employed in Cleveland and in Chicago. It was said that at Cleveland he had heard Emma Goldman deliver an anarchist address, and that this inspired his fell purpose. No accessories were found. Nor did the dreadful act betoken that anarchism was increasing in our country, or that any special propagandism in its favor was on. To all appearance, so far as America was concerned, the assassination was an unrelated deed. A far more serious symptom was the lawless passion of those who, some of them from pulpits, fulminated anarchy as bad as that of the anarchists by demanding that Czolgosz be lynched.
The murderer’s heart had caught fire from the malignant, red type of anarchy abroad, which had within seven years struck down the President of France, the Empress of Austria,  the King of Italy, and the Prime Minister of Spain. In their fanatic diabolism its devotees impartially hated government, whether despotic or free. They were no less hostile to one than to the other of our political parties. The murder had no political significance, though certainly a tragic rebuke to virulent editorials and cartoons in papers wont to season political debate with too hot personal condiment. President McKinley had suffered from this and so had his predecessor.
Upon such an occasion orderly government, both in the States and in the nation, reasonably sought muniment against any possible new danger from anarchy. McKinley’s own State leading, States enacted statutes denouncing penalties upon such as assailed, either by speech or by act, the life or the bodily safety of any one in authority. The Federal Government followed with a similar anti-anarchist law of wide scope.
Vice-President Theodore Roosevelt took over the Presidency with as little jar as a mi1itary post suffers from changing guard.
Theodore Roosevelt was born in New York City, October 27, 1858. He graduated from Harvard at the age of twenty-one. When twenty-three he entered the New York State Assembly, where he served with great credit six years. Ill-health took him West, where for two years he “roughed it” as a “cowboy.” Afterward he was a member of the United States Civil Service Commission and president of the New York City Police Board. In 1897 he became Assistant Secretary of the Navy, holding his position long enough to indite the despatch which took Dewey to Manila. He then raised the United States Volunteer Cavalry, commonly spoken of as “Rough Riders,” and went to Cuba as their Lieutenant-Colonel, declining the colonelcy in favor of Leonard Wood. Gallantry at Las Guasimas raised Colonel Wood to be Brigadier-General and gave Roosevelt command of the regiment. Returning from war, Colonel Roosevelt soon found himself Governor of his State.
He here continued his course as a conservative reformer.  He urged compulsory publicity for the affairs of monopolistic combinations, and was prominently instrumental in the enactment of the New York Franchise Tax Law. Mere politicians began to account Roosevelt “dangerous.” Party managers in the 1900 convention hoped by making him Vice-President to remove him from competition for the Presidency in 1904; but the tragic death of President McKinley foiled their calculations.
The new Chief Magistrate was no less honest, fearless, or public-spirited than the recent one; it only remained to be seen whether he was equally astute and cautious. Corning to the office unfettered as he did, might, in one of so frank a temperament, prove a danger. He was popular. Though highly educated and used to the best associations, the people found him more approachable than any of his predecessors. At a public dinner which he attended one round of cheers was given him as “The President of the United States,” another as “Roosevelt,” and a third as “Teddy.” Had McKinley been in his place a corresponding variation would have been unthinkable.
President Roosevelt’s temper and method were in pointed contrast to McKinley’s. McKinley seemed simply to hold the tiller, availing himself of currents that deviously, perhaps, yet easily and inevitably, bore him to his objective. Roosevelt strenuously plied the oar, recking little of cross currents or head winds, if, indeed, he did not delight in such. Mr. Depew aptly styled McKinley “a Western man with Eastern ideas”; Roosevelt “an Eastern man with Western ideas”; Roosevelt was the first President since William Henry Harrison to bring to his office the freshness of the frontier, as he was, anomalously, the first city-born or wealthy-born incumbent.