Investigation Activities of the Department of
IV. McKinley’s assassination.—On
September 6, 1901, at Buffalo, N. Y., Leon Czolgosz shot and fatally
wounded President William McKinley. Upon arrest Czolgosz was closely
examined by the authorities and made a lengthy statement, giving
in detail his history, together with the names of the persons with
whom he had associated and the matter which he had read. Annexed
hereto as Exhibit V is a certified copy of the statement made by
Czolgosz at police headquarters in the present [sic] of three
witnesses—Frank Haggerty, a former court reporter, who is no longer
living; John Martin, former chief of police of Buffalo; and M. O’Laughlin,
a former officer connected with the district-attorney’s office at
that time. The exhibit attached contains an affidavit of Mr. O’Laughlin
stating that the statement to which his affidavit is attached is
the statement made by Czolgosz at that time in his presence, and
there is also attached to Exhibit V an affidavit of Miss Clara M.
Ragan stating that the statement is a true and correct statement
and a part of the files of the district attorney of Erie County.
Attached hereto and marked as Exhibit VI is another statement made
by Czolgosz to Mr. Penney, district attorney at that time, and to
which an affidavit of Horace E. Story, the stenographer who took
this statement, is attached; also an affidavit of Miss Clara M.
Ragan stating that she did make a transcript and true and correct
copy of the statement attached and referred to of Horace E. Story.
Referring to pages 4 and 5 of Exhibit
V, being the confession of Czolgosz, it will be noted that Czolgosz
stated that he frequented a club in Cleveland, at which place he
had seen Emma Goldman. He further stated that she talked about government
and said “she didn’t believe in voting and didn’t believe in government.”
He further  stated that she
had also made the remark that “government was tyranny,” and that
“she believed in anarchy.” Czolgosz stated that he was an anarchist
and that “anarchy,” as he understood it, meant “self-government.”
It is to be further noted that Czolgosz states in his confession
that the only time he saw Emma Goldman was in Cleveland. He further
stated that Emma Goldman wrote for a newspaper in Chicago which
he frequently read, entitled “Free Society.” Referring to Exhibit
VI, being the detailed statement of Czolgosz to the district attorney,
attention is called to the following answers made by Czolgosz to
questions put to him:
Q. You believe it is right to
kill if necessary, don’t you?—A. Yes, sir. [P. 4.]
Q. Did you talk it [assassination]
over with anyone or say it was something you had read that suggested
it to you, or something else?—A. Yes, sir. [P. 5.]
Q. Something you had read, was
it?—A. Yes, sir.
Q. Who was the last one you heard
talk?—A. Emma Goldman [P. 8.]
Q. What did she say or what did
she say to you about the President?—A. She says—she didn’t mention
no Presidents at all, she mentioned the Government.
Q. What did she say about it?—A.
She said she didn’t believe in it.
Q. You got the idea that she thought
it would be a good thing if we didn’t have this form of government?—A.
Yes, sir. [P. 9.]
Q. Can’t you give us some idea
what first put it into your mind?—A. I didn’t believe in government.
Q. What was the name of the papers
you were reading?—A. Free Society. [P. 10.]
Q. And the reason for your intention
to kill him was that you didn’t believe in having rulers over
us or in having Presidents?—A. Yes, sir. [P. 15.]
Q. Didn’t believe in our form
of government?—A. Yes, sir.
Particular attention is called to
the fact that Czolgosz stated that he had heard Emma Goldman speak
at the Cleveland club and that he had heard her state that she was
an anarchist and didn’t believe in any form of government. Czolgosz
in his statement said that the time he heard Emma Goldman speak
in Cleveland was the only time he had seen her. However, it appears
that this statement is an absolute falsehood, for, when referring
to the copy of Free Society for October 6, 1901, which is attached
hereto as Exhibit V, there is found on page 3 an article written
by Abraham Isaak, the editor of the paper, and headed “Why we consider
Czolgosz a spy.” In this article it is stated by Isaak that on July
12, 1901, the day of Emma Goldman’s departure for Buffalo, Emma
Goldman pointed Czolgosz out to Isaak at the station as being a
young man who desired to speak to Isaak. It will thus be seen that,
notwithstanding Czolgosz’s statement that he personally didn’t know
Emma Goldman, it appears that Czolgosz was at the station at the
time of Emma Goldman’s departure from Chicago, July 12, 1901, and
was pointed out to Isaak.
Attention is also to be called to
the fact that Czolgosz’s reason for assassinating President McKinley
was that he didn’t believe in this form of government. He stated
that the same doctrines opposing this form of government were enunciated
by Emma Goldman in her speeches and writings.
Czolgosz stated that he had read a
great deal in the publication entitled Free Society. This is a publication
originally issued under the title of “Fire Brand,” and was published
in San Francisco. It later moved its headquarters to Chicago and
reference to its columns shows it to be the typical anarchist paper.
The heading contains the statement that the paper is an exponent
of “anarchist commun-  ism,”
and there is contained in every issue of it the following definition
of anarchy, for which this paper stands:
Anarchy, a social theory which
regards the union of order with the absence of all direct government
of man by man as the political ideal; absolute, individual liberty.
In the issues of Free Society we
find many articles by Emma Goldman. One of particular interest is
that appearing in the issue of February 17, 1901, a photostat copy
of which is attached hereto as Exhibit VII. The article appears
on page 3, and is headed “An open letter.” In this article Emma
Goldman states that she has been accused of being against force
or propaganda by deed. She specifically states as follows:
I have never opposed force or
propaganda by deed, either publicly or privately. I demand and
acknowledge the right of an individual or a number of individuals
to strike back at organized power and defend themselves against
invasion; and I have and always will stand on the side of the
one who has been courageous enough to give his own life in taking
or attempting to take the life of a tyrant, whether industrially
or politically. I am on the side of every rebel, whether his
act has been beneficial or detrimental to our cause; for I don’t
judge an act by its result but by its cause; and the cause of
each and every rebellious act has been organized despotism,
robbery, and exploitation on the part of society, and the innate
sense of justice and a rebellious spirit on the part of the
If I stand on the side of the
rebel or if I approve of an act of violence, it is only because
I know that organized force—Government—leaves us no other method
of propaganda; because we are the invaded and not the invaders.
I think I need say no more about
my position toward individual or collective revolt; so I will
only repeat that I am a revolutionist by nature and temperament
and as such I claim the right for myself and all those who follow
with me to rebel and resist invasion by all means, force included,
consequently, a destructionist. But I am also an anarchist and
as such a constructionist. In order to construct a new sanitary
building fit for human beings to live in, I must, if I do not
find clear ground, tear down the old, rotten, decayed obstacles
which stand in the way of that beautiful and magnificent mansion
The above is a sample of the literature
read by Czolgosz and which apparently molded his ideas along the
lines of determining to commit the act of murder.
Again, in Free Society for the issue
of June 2, 1901, page 1, a copy of which issue is annexed as Exhibit
VII appears a euologistic article by Emma Goldman upon Gaetono Bresci,
the anarchist who assassinated the King of Italy. In this article
Emma Goldman makes Bresci a martyr to the cause.
In the article quoted from in the
issue of February 17, 1901, we find that Emma Goldman openly admits
that she believes in the use of violence and states that she not
only is an anarchist but that she is likewise a destructionist.
Czolgosz read and carefully perused, according to his own statements,
the various issues of Free Society and, even though it be conceded
that Emma Goldman was not a direct party to his crime in the assassination
of President McKinley, yet she was instrumental in helping to form
the unnatural ideas which Czolgosz held toward government and authority.
In the issue of Free Society for October
6, 1901, which appeared less than a month after the death of President
McKinley, Emma Goldman wrote an article appearing on pages 1 and
2 of the issue  referred to,
entitled “The Tragedy at Buffalo.” A copy of this issue is annexed
as Exhibit IX. In this article she endeavors to justify the act
of Czolgosz and closes her article with the following statement:
And my heart goes out to you
in deep sympathy and to all those victims of a system of inequality
and the many who will die the forerunners of a better, nobler,
and grander life.