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Source: Journal of the American Institute of Criminal Law and Criminology
Source type: journal
Document type: article
Document title: “Assassins of Rulers”
Author(s): MacDonald, Arthur
Date of publication: November 1911
Volume number: 2
Issue number: 4
Pagination: 505-20 (excerpt below includes only pages 515-16)

MacDonald, Arthur. “Assassins of Rulers.” Journal of the American Institute of Criminal Law and Criminology Nov. 1911 v2n4: pp. 505-20.
Leon Czolgosz; McKinley assassination (Czolgosz account); Leon Czolgosz (last words).
Named persons
William McKinley.
Page 515 includes a photograph of Czolgosz accompanied by this text: “There is little in the assassin’s appearance to indicate anything very peculiar or striking. Most of normal persons show physical defects, asymmetrics or anomalies. If a line be drawn through the middle of the face vertically a lateral asymmetry will be noted; the left eye is implanted higher than the right one and is larger. The left orbit is large, round and full, while the right is smaller with outer angle contracted. The left cheek bone is more prominent than the right. Physically he was normal and healthy. As to the prisoner’s mental condition, there was no evidence of disease or degeneracy. He was exceptionally intelligent for one in his walk of life.”

About the author (p. 505): “Criminologist, Washington, D. C.”


Assassins of Rulers [excerpt]



     The assassin of President McKinley was an average young man, possessing nothing more than an elementary education. He was of a quiet disposition and liked to be by himself, which may have been developed or increased by his stepmother, with whom he quarreled. The evidence does not show him even to be abnormal. The facts of his life would fit thousands of young men of his class. He was an example of an uneducated man imbued with anarchistic ideas, especially in an extreme form. What he says in his interviews is a most simple kind of concrete anarchism.
     The following are some of his statements: “I don’t believe in a republican form of government, and I don’t believe we should have any [515][516] rulers. It is right to kill them. I had that idea when I shot the President and that is why I was there. Something I read in the “Free Society” suggested the idea. I thought it would be a good thing to kill the President. When I got to the grounds I waited for him to go into the temple. My gun was in my pocket with a handkerchief over it. I put my hand in my pocket after I got in the door, took out the gun and wrapped the handkerchief over my hand. I carried it in that way in the row until I got to the President; no one saw me do it. I did not shake hands with him. When I shot him I fully intended to kill him. I shot twice. . . . I know other men who believe what I do, that it would be a good thing to kill the President and have no rulers. I have heard that at the meetings in public halls. I heard quite a lot of people talk like that. . . . I said to the officer who brought me down, ‘I done my duty.’ I don’t believe in voting; it is against my principles. I am an anarchist. I don’t believe in marriage. I believe in free love. I fully understood what I was doing when I shot the President. I realized that I was sacrificing my life. I am willing to take the consequences. . . . I want to say to be published—I killed President McKinley because I done my duty.” The trial was merely formal and lasted but eight and one-half hours. When brought into court the assassin was neatly dressed. There was nothing of the sensational nature in the proceedings. As the prisoner entered the death chamber his head was erect, his manner self-possessed and defiant. He offered no resistance in being put in the electric chair; during the preparations he said, “I killed the President because he was an enemy of the good people—the good working people I am not sorry for my crime. I am sorry I could not see my father.”



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