Source: Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen’s Magazine
Source type: journal
Document type: editorial
Document title: “The Assassination of President McKinley”
Date of publication: October 1901
Volume number: 31
Issue number: 4
|“The Assassination of President McKinley.” Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen’s Magazine Oct. 1901 v31n4: p. 662.
|McKinley assassination (personal response); McKinley assassination (public response: criticism); Henry H. Washburn (public statements).
|Edith Roosevelt; Theodore Roosevelt; Henry H. Washburn.
The Assassination of President McKinley
THE sorrow of the American people because of the death of their President
is exceeded, if possible, by their indignation at those who style themselves
anarchists, one of whom perpetrated the cowardly murder. Swift punishment should
be accorded those in any way responsible for so diabolic a crime. If it can
be proved to the satisfaction of an intelligent, unbiased jury that the anarchist
society, or any two or more members of such society acting in concert, have
conspired to assassinate the President, every guilty one, man or woman, should
suffer capital punishment. If the anarchists’ society is responsible as an organization,
by intent, that society should be obliterated.
But workingmen will do well to consider carefully the measures that will be proposed to effect the desired end. They should not permit their sorrow to make their perception less keen; they should not permit designing persons to lead them into favoring laws that are intended to restrict the rights of the people. The working people should not forget that some of the persons and newspapers that are loudest in their demands that “anarchy should be exterminated” have in the past been pleased to class members of organized labor who strike for their rights as “anarchists.” In many of the memorial sermons the excited preachers have asserted that all are anarchists who are not Christians. From a very high dignitary comes the suggestion that all secret societies (which must include all fraternal and labor organizations) should be suppressed as they are conducive to anarchy. Those who have favored a government of the “powers that be” have denounced labor unions as anarchist societies because they have sought legislation restricting the power of judges to defeat workingmen with injunctions. If we are to believe some, all workingmen who strike, and nearly half of the people who vote, are anarchists. Those people who have classed a large proportion of American citizens as anarchists are now the loudest in their demands for the “death of all anarchists.” Should workingmen permit their indignation to cause them to advocate all legislation that will probably be proposed they will likely find themselves robbed of those liberties they have in the past held most dear. It will be well to watch those law-makers who in the past have been against organized labor—for they will attempt to use the virtuous indignation of a sorrowing people to curtail the liberties for which our forefathers shed their blood. The Rev. Dr. Washburn, Mrs. Roosevelt’s pastor, in an address at the memorial services at the home of President Roosevelt said:
“Neither a free press nor free speech is responsible for anarchy or the crimes committed in its name. Anarchy does not exist because of a free press and free speech. It did not have its origin here, but it grew up in the poverty, ignorance and lack of moral education of other countries. If it has been transferred here, neither a free press nor free speech is to blame for it.
“The policy which should be adopted to suppress it must be moral training for our young, which will do more to obliterate it than all the laws that may be enacted. People must be educated, so that they can reason and think.”