Publication information
view printer-friendly version
Source: A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents
Source type: government document
Document type: article
Document title: “McKinley, William.—March 4, 1897-Sept. 14, 1901”
Author(s): anonymous
Volume number: 20
Publisher: Bureau of National Literature, Inc.
Place of publication: New York, New York
Year of publication: [1922]
Pagination: none

“McKinley, William.—March 4, 1897-Sept. 14, 1901.” A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents. Vol. 20. New York: Bureau of National Literature, [1922]: [no pagination].
full text of article; excerpt of book
McKinley presidency; William McKinley (personal history); William McKinley (public statements); William McKinley (presidential policies).
Named persons
Russell Alexander Alger [first name misspelled below]; Wharton Barker; Charles E. Bentley; James G. Blaine; Richard P. Bland; Cornelius N. Bliss; William Jennings Bryan; Simon B. Buckner; Donelson Caffery [misspelled below]; Grover Cleveland; William R. Day; Eugene V. Debs; Lyman J. Gage; James A. Gary; John W. Griggs; John Hay; Ethan A. Hitchcock; Garret A. Hobart; Hale Johnson; Philander C. Knox; Joshua Levering; John D. Long; Matthew Maguire; Joseph F. Malloney; Charles H. Matchett; Joseph McKenna; William McKinley; John M. Palmer [middle initial wrong below]; Robert E. Pattison; Matthew S. Quay; Thomas Brackett Reed; Theodore Roosevelt; Elihu Root; Arthur Sewall; John Sherman; Charles Emory Smith; James H. Southgate [middle initial wrong below]; Silas Swallow; Henry Moore Teller; Thomas E. Watson; James Wilson; John G. Woolley.
This book, the second of two “encyclopedic indexes,” is copyrighted 1917; however, since the first of the two indexes is copyrighted 1922, this same date is assigned herein for this second index as well.

From title page: With Additions and Encyclopedic Index by Private Enterprise.

From title page: Prepared under the Direction of the Joint Committee on Printing, of the House and Senate, Pursuant to an Act of the Fifty-Second Congress of the United States.


McKinley, William.—March 4, 1897-Sept. 14, 1901


(FIRST TERM, 1897-1901.)
Twenty-eighth Administration—Republican.
Vice-President—Garret A. Hobart.

Secretary of State
        John Sherman.
        William R. Day.
        John Hay.

Secretary of the Treasury
        Lyman J. Gage.

Secretary of War
        Russel A. Alger.
        Elihu Root.

        Joseph McKenna.
        John W. Griggs.

        James A. Gary.
        Charles E. Smith.

Secretary of the Navy
        John D. Long.

Secretary of the Interior
        Cornelius N. Bliss.
        Ethan A. Hitchcock.

Secretary of Agriculture
        James Wilson.

     McKinley was elected by the Republican party at the elections of 1896 and 1900. At the Republican National Convention at St. Louis, June 16, 1896, he was nominated on the first ballot, overwhelmingly defeating Reed and Quay, his closest rivals.

     Platform.—The platform on this occasion caused much discussion over the money plank, and Senator Teller’s resolution seeking to commit the party to an endorsement of gold and silver, with free coinage on a basis of 16 to 1, was defeated. The platform as adopted severely arraigned the Democratic administration; blamed it for the period of financial depression through which the country had just passed; confirmed the party’s allegiance to the doctrine of protection; advocated a continuance and revival of reciprocity; favored the restoration of discriminating duties; stood unreservedly for sound money; opposed the debasing of currency by free coinage; pledged ample provisions for veterans; urged the control of Hawaii by the United States, the building of the trans-Isthmian canal, and the purchase of the Danish West Indies; condemned the Armenian massacres; reasserted the Monroe Doctrine; urged the restoration of peace to, and the securing of in- [page break] dependence for Cuba, by the United States; insisted upon rigid enforcement of immigration laws; supported civil service reform; condemned lynching; recommended a Board of Arbitration to adjudicate between labor and capital; urged free-homestead laws upon Congress; favored the extension of statehood to the remaining territories, and proper recognition of Alaska; sympathized with temperance; and recognized the rights of women.

     Opposition.—The Democratic National Convention at Chicago, July 7, 1896, nominated William J. Bryan on the fifth ballot, over Bland and Pattison. The People’s party, or Populists, in convention at St. Louis on July 22, 1896, agreed to support Bryan, and nominated Watson as Vice-President. The National Silver party, at the same place and time, agreed to support Bryan for President and nominated Sewall for Vice-President. The sound-money Democrats in convention at Indianapolis, on Sept. 2, 1896, nominated General John W. Palmer and General Simon B. Buckner as their candidates. The National Prohibition party was split over the money question into “Narrow Gaugers,” who wanted the platform confined to Prohibition, and the “Broad Gaugers,” who wanted free coinage and other national issues incorporated. The Narrow Gaugers nominated Joshua Levering and Hale Johnson as candidates. The Broad Gaugers nominated Rev. Charles E. Bentley and James A. Southgate. The Socialist Labor Party, at New York, on July 4, 1896, nominated Charles H. Matchett and Matthew Maguire as their candidates.

     Vote.—The popular vote gave McKinley 7,111,607; Bryan, 6,509,052; Palmer, 222,583; Levering, 134,645; Bentley, 13,968, and Matchett, 36,373. The electoral vote gave McKinley 271, Bryan 176.

(SECOND TERMMARCH 4, 1901-SEPT. 14, 1901.)
Twenty-ninth Administration—Republican.
Vice-President—Theodore Roosevelt.

Secretary of State
        John Hay (continued).

Secretary of the Treasury
        Lyman J. Gage (continued).

Secretary of War
        Elihu Root (continued).

        Philander C. Knox.

        Charles E. Smith (continued).

Secretary of the Navy
        John D. Long (continued).

Secretary of the Interior
        E. A. Hitchcock (continued).

Secretary of Agriculture
        James Wilson (continued).

     The Republican National Convention held at Philadelphia in June, 1900, nominated President McKinley for a second term.

     SECOND TERMOpposition.—The Democratic National Convention, at Kansas City, Mo., nominated William J. Bryan. The People’s party, or Fusionists, at Sioux Falls, S. D., endorsed Bryan’s candidacy; while the “Middle-of-the-Road” Anti-Fusionist faction of the People’s party, at Cincinnati, nominated Wharton Barker. The Prohibitionists, at Chicago, nominated John G. Woolley. The Socialist Labor party, in New York City, nominated Joseph F. Malloney. The Social Democratic party, at Indianapolis, nominated Eugene Debs. The United Christian party, at Rock Island, Ill., nominated Silas C. Swallow. The Silver Republican Convention, at Kansas City, endorsed Bryan. The National party, in New York City, nominated Donelson Caffrey of Louisiana, but he declined the nomination.

     Vote.—The popular vote ran: McKinley, 7,207,923; Bryan, 6,358,133; Woolley, 208,914; Barker, 50,373; Debs, 87,814; Malloney, 39, 379. The electoral vote stood: McKinley, 292; Bryan, 155.

     Party Affiliation.—From his youth William McKinley was an ardent Republican. After his return from the war, he was admitted to the bar, and settled in Canton, Ohio, then an opposition county, where his political ability had abundant scope and where he quickly attained considerable political prominence. In 1867, he favored negro suffrage, a most unpopular topic in his neighborhood; in 1875, at the height of the greenback craze, he spoke for sound money and the resumption of specie payment. In Congress, in 1878, he opposed the Wood Tariff Bill; in 1879 and 1880, he opposed the repeal of the Federal election laws; in 1882, he advocated the protective policy in Congress and the tariff commission; in 1884, he opposed the Morrison Tariff Bill; in 1884, he supported Blaine for the Presidency; in 1886, he favored arbitration between labor and capital; in 1887, he conducted a brilliant campaign against the Mills Bill, which was supposed to embody Cleveland’s policy and ideas on the tariff; his final address in Congress on this bill has been characterized as “the most effective and eloquent tariff speech ever heard in Congress.” This speech served as a textbook of the campaign. On April 16, 1890, Major McKinley introduced the tariff bill since known by his name, which became a law on Oct. 6, 1890. Defeated for Congress in 1890, he was elected Governor of Ohio. His inauguration as Governor took place shortly before the commencement of the Presidential campaign.

     Public Debt.—The public debt of the United States for the years to which President McKinley was elected to serve stood as follows: July 1, 1897, $986,656,086.14; 1898, $1,627,085,492.14; 1899, $1,155,320,235.19; 1900, $1,107,711,257.89; 1901, $1,044,739,119.97; 1902, $969,457,241.04; 1903, $925,011,637.31; 1904, $967,231,773.75.

     Tariff.—In his Inaugural Address (page 6238) President McKinley took up the tariff question. He said: “Nothing was ever made plainer at a general election than that the controlling principle in the raising of revenues from duties on imports is zealous care for American interests and American labor. The people have declared that such legislation should be had as will give ample protection and encouragement to the industries and development of our country. . . . To this policy we are all, of whatever party, firmly bound by the voice of the people—a power vastly more potential than the expression of any political platform.” Further, he says: “In the revision of the tariff especial attention should be given to the re-enactment and extension of the reciprocity principle of the law of 1890, under which so great a stimulus was given to our foreign trade in new and advantageous markets for the surplus of our agricultural and manufactured products.” In his message at the special session (page 6246) he said: “The necessity of the passage of a tariff law which shall provide ample revenue, need not be further urged. The imperative demand of the hour is the prompt enactment of such a measure.” In his Third Annual Message (page 6439) the President said: “I recommend that the Congress at its present session reduce the internal revenue [page break] taxes imposed to meet the expenses of the war with Spain in the sum of thirty millions of dollars. This reduction should be secured by the remission of these taxes which experience has shown to be the most burdensome to the industries of the people.” In his Second Inaugural Address (page 6465) the President said: “Now I have the satisfaction to announce that the Congress just closed has reduced taxation in the sum of $41,000,000.”

     Foreign Policy.—In his First Inaugural Address (page 6241) President McKinley summed up the foreign policy of his administration in these words: “We want no wars of conquest; we must avoid the temptation of territorial aggression. War should never be entered upon until every agency of peace has failed; peace is preferable to war in almost every contingency. Arbitration is the true method of settlement of international as well as local or individual differences.” In a special message to Congress (page 6277) the President announces the destruction of the battleship Maine in Havana waters and the conclusion of the court of inquiry. His special message (page 6281) deals with the revolution in Cuba and its effects upon the United States. In it he says: “The issue is now with Congress. It is a solemn responsibility. I have exhausted every effort to relieve the intolerable condition of affairs which is at our doors. Prepared to execute every obligation imposed upon me by the Constitution and the law, I await your action.” By act of Congress, April 25, 1898, a state of war was declared to exist between the United States of America and the Kingdom of Spain. President McKinley’s proclamation of war (page 6474) followed on April 26, 1898. The President discussed the future relations which should exist between the United States and Cuba in his Second Inaugural Address (page 6467). As to the war in the Philippines, the President said: “Our countrymen should not be deceived. We are not waging war against the Philippine Islands. A portion of them are waking war against the United States. . . . We will not leave the destiny of the loyal millions in the islands to the disloyal thousands who are in rebellion against the United States.”

     Civil Service.—In his Inaugural Address (page 6241) the President said: “Reforms in the civil service must go on; but the changes should be real and genuine, not perfunctory, or prompted by a zeal in behalf of any party simply because it happens to be in power.” Among the reforms instituted, the President lays especial stress upon dismissals, and says: “. . . a distinct advance has been made in giving a hearing before dismissals upon all cases where incompetency is charged or demand made for the removal of officials in any of the Departments.” In his Fourth Annual Message (page 6455) the President recommends the extension of such parts of the Civil Service regulations as may be practicable to the Philippines.



top of page