Publication information
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Source: Senate Documents
Source type: government document
Document type: report
Document title: “Investigation Activities of the Department of Justice”
Author(s): United States Department of Justice
Volume number: 12
Publisher: Government Printing Office
Place of publication: Washington, DC
Year of publication: 1919
Pagination: excerpt below includes only pages 41-44 of the full report

“Investigation Activities of the Department of Justice.” Senate Documents. Vol. 12. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1919.
Leon Czolgosz (confession); Leon Czolgosz (connection with anarchists); Emma Goldman (impact on Czolgosz); Emma Goldman.
Named persons
Gaetano Bresci [first name misspelled below]; Leon Czolgosz; Emma Goldman; Frank T. Haggerty; Abraham Isaak; John Martin (a); William McKinley; Matthew J. O’Loughlin [misspelled below]; A. Mitchell Palmer [in notes]; Thomas Penney; Clara M. Ragan; Horace E. Story.
Click here to view the “certified copy of the statement made by Czolgosz at police headquarters” referred to below.

Click here to view the “detailed statement of Czolgosz to the district attorney” referred to below.

The excerpt below comes from a subsection titled “Activities of Emma Goldman: Advocation of Violence” (pp. 38-44). It is part of a larger section of the report titled “Exhibit No. 6: Emma Goldman” (pp. 35-137). The excerpt elaborates upon the contents of Exhibits V, VI, VII, and IX, which pertains to Goldman’s role in the McKinley assassination.

The following “Letter of Transmittal” appears on page 3 of the report:

Washington, D. C., November 15, 1919.     

     SIR: I have the honor to send you, herewith, a report upon the activities of the Bureau of Investigation of this department, in response to the Senate Resolution No. 213 of October 14, 1919, adopted October 17.
     Very respectfully,

Attorney General.     

                                                          Washington, D. C.

From title page: Letter from the Attorney General Transmitting in Response to a Senate Resolution of October 17, 1919, a Report on the Activities of the Bureau of Investigation of the Department of Justice Against Persons Advising Anarchy, Sedition, and the Forcible Overthrow of the Government.

Document No. 153.

66th Congress, 1st Session, May 19-November 19, 1919.


Investigation Activities of the Department of Justice [excerpt]

     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 [41][42] 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. [P. 9.]
     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- [42][43] 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 individual.
     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 called “anarchy.”

     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 [43][44] 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.



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