Publication information
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Source: British Medical Journal
Source type: journal
Document type: literary news column
Document title: “Literary Notes”
Author(s): anonymous
Date of publication: 14 March 1903
Volume number: none
Issue number: none
Pagination: 638-40 (excerpt below includes only page 640)

“Literary Notes.” British Medical Journal 14 Mar. 1903: pp. 638-40.
Walter Channing; The Mental Status of Czolgosz, the Assassin of President McKinley; Leon Czolgosz (mental health).
Named persons
Walter Channing; Leon Czolgosz; William McKinley; Emmanuel Régis.
Click here to view the study referred to below as it appeared in the American Journal of Insanity (i.e., not as an offprint).


Literary Notes [excerpt]

     Dr. Walter Channing of Brookline, Massachusetts, has reprinted from the American Journal of Insanity, an elaborate study of the mental condition of Czolgosz, the murderer of President McKinley. The experts in their official report expressed their conviction that he was neither a paranoiac nor a degenerate, but Dr. Channing thinks this conclusion was arrived at too hastily. His own conclusions are that Czolgosz was not an anarchist in the true sense of the term, and while anarchist doctrines may have influenced his mind, they were not the true cause of his crime. He had been in ill health for several years, changing from an industrious and apparently fairly normal young man, into a sickly, unhealthy, and abnormal one. While in this physical and mental condition of sickliness and abnormality it is probable that he conceived the idea of performing some great act for the benefit of the common and working people. This finally developed into a true delusion that it was his duty to kill the President, because he was an enemy of the people, and resulted in the assassination. His conduct after the crime was not inconsistent with insanity. His history for some years before the deed, and the way in which it was committed, and his actions afterwards, furnish a good illustration of the typical regicide or “magnicide” as described by Régis. The necropsy threw no light on his mental condition, and would not invalidate the opinion that the existing delusion was the result of disturbed brain action. Finally, from a study of all the facts, insanity appears to Dr. Channing the most reasonable and logical explanation of the crime.



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