Source: International Wood Worker
Source type: journal
Document type: editorial
Document title: “President McKinley’s Death”
Date of publication: September 1901
Volume number: 10
Issue number: 9
|“President McKinley’s Death.” International Wood Worker Sept. 1901 v10n9: p. 101.|
|McKinley assassination (personal response); McKinley assassination (public response: criticism).|
|William Vincent Allen; John Wilkes Booth; Leon Czolgosz; James A. Garfield; Charles J. Guiteau; Abraham Lincoln; William McKinley.|
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 regard.
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 themselves.