President McKinley’s Death
On Friday, Sept. 6, the civilized
world was startled and horrified at the attack made upon President
McKinley during a reception at the Temple of Music at the grounds
of the Buffalo Exposition, by a man named Leon Czolgosz. Whatever
the fellow hoped to gain by assassinating the distinguished citizen
who occupied the highest gift which his fellow countrymen had the
power to confer, we know not. President McKinley personally was
a man for whom all who came in contact with him had the highest
His policy as President of the United
States is open to criticism and every reader of this journal knows
that it has been consistently opposed to the administration’s course
of expansion and militiarism [sic]. But for William McKinley,
the citizen, we, in common with the civilized people of the world,
have always had the highest regard.
Czolgosz probably believed that by
removing President McKinley he was doing something to advance the
interests of the common people. His idea of reform, however, was
crude and cloudy and the most generous conclusion which intelligent
people can reach is to class him among the monomaniacs, who believe
that the destruction of the leading representative of a system,
destroys the system itself.
Such deeds can have only a disastrous
effect upon the community at large. It will give to the enemies
of the toilers an excuse to establish in America a government compared
with which the monarchies of Europe will pale into insignificance.
This would not help the masses. It would be retrogression. It would
not only mean that anarchists would be prohibited from exercising
the right of free assemblage and free speech given them by the constitution
of the United States, but the powers that be could acquire and extend
a system of despotism that would render gatherings of socialists,
trade unionists and other reformers practically impossible.
The history of the last forty years
shows that three men determined upon removing the highest official
in our government. Only one out of the three, however, was an anarchist,
and it may not be amiss to say that at such a critical time, when
men of position and talent should be cool and temperate, and in
possession of all of their senses, it is surprising to find them
acting the part of madmen.
There is now a feeling that anarchism
should be suppressed. This comes through the ignorance of such newspapers
as the St. Louis Republic, the New York Sun and other advocates
of rabid capitalist anarchism and individuals of the caliber of
William V. Allen, of Nebraska, a prince of tyrants himself. It is
just as absurd and ridiculous to say that because Guiteau, the slayer
of Garfield, was a Republican officeseeker that all Republican officeseekers
should then have been suppressed, or that because Booth, the slayer
of Lincoln, was an actor, that all actors should be brought under
the ban of the law.
Some fanatics in Minneapolis, Minn.,
who failed to understand the difference between socialism and anarchism,
or between anarchism and murder, stoned a number of citizens who
were in a socialist tent at the Minnesota Fair grounds, and tore
the canvas into shreds. They seemed to think that socialism and
assassination were one and the same thing.
The anarchist theory of a government
without law does not necessarily include murder or assassination,
although the police of Chicago, at the instigation of the police
of Buffalo, arrested a number of citizens and denied them the right
of even seeing attorneys, for no other reason than that they were
classed as anarchists.
It is safe to say that no class of
citizens condemn more vigorously the atrocious murder of William
McKinley more than do those who belong to the socialist and trade-union
movement, and we believe that the same can be said of the anarchists