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Source: American Machinist
Source type: journal
Document type: editorial
Document title: “The Death of the President”
Author(s): anonymous
Date of publication: 19 September 1901
Volume number: 24
Issue number: 38
Pagination: 1041

“The Death of the President.” American Machinist 19 Sept. 1901 v24n38: p. 1041.
full text
McKinley assassination (public response); William McKinley (last public address).
Named persons
Caligula; Abraham Lincoln; William McKinley; Nero.


The Death of the President

     This issue of the “American Machinist” is published in America on the day set apart for the last act in the sad tragedy begun at Buffalo and which has deprived the country of its constitutionally elected chief executive. Nothing has been developed which tends to show that any cause, good or bad, has gained anything whatever by the murderer’s act. Even the crazy ideas which he is supposed to represent are no nearer realization than before. We still live under a constitutional and strong government, formed and perpetuated by the people and one which they have the authority and the right to change in any manner or to any extent that may seem best to them. This they may do peacefully and in the manner prescribed by the Constitution—a fact which removes the last shadow of an excuse for the assassination of our President or of any public officer. Particularly does this apply to one who, though some of his public acts and policies aroused strong opposition from citizens as patriotic and as devoted to the public welfare as himself, yet seemed always chiefly concerned to interpret and so far as possible to execute the popular will, even though this sometimes directed him to a course opposed to his own previously declared beliefs and principles. President McKinley’s attractive personality and blameless private life endeared him to his countrymen, and in a long public career no act of his has ever been attributed to a sinister motive, even by his political opponents.
     It is probable that the niche in the temple of fame to be occupied by McKinley will be the higher for the address delivered by him the day before he was shot and which we commented upon last week. His words on that occasion plainly showed that he clearly recognized that the conditions under which our international trade must hereafter be carried on had materially changed and that we must change our methods to meet them. This address was such as no hidebound or narrow-minded stickler for consistency could ever have uttered. Its terse, epigrammatic sentences are likely to be much quoted in the future and they have already made a very favorable impression abroad in quarters where such favorable impressions needed, and still need, to be made in order to remove serious and threatening obstacles to the development of our foreign trade.
     There are a few dreamers or fools who think that we can live without law, and if one of these will give his life for it he can some time take the life of the law’s most exalted representative. It could not be expected that such as these should discriminate. Lincoln and McKinley, in their minds, are in the same category with Nero and Caligula. It is pitiful that all human safeguards should fail to foil such as these. When one succeeds in his murder it can be looked upon not incorrectly as a most deplorable but a not altogether preventable accident. The fabric of State is not jostled by it. The functions of government, the industrial and commercial activities are disturbed by scarcely a ripple and flow on as smoothly and as strongly as ever. The death of the President gives us the profoundest assurance of the unity of our people, and tells the alarmist and pessimistic onlookers of the nations that none is more stable than ours. The event so deplorable finds us at peace with all the world and with all our industries in fullest swing; if these conditions do not continue it will be through the operation of other causes than the death of any man, however exalted or however charged with responsibilities of state.



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