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Source: Bradstreet’s
Source type: magazine
Document type: editorial
Document title: “The Dead President”
Author(s): anonymous
Date of publication: 21 September 1901
Volume number: 29
Issue number: 1212
Pagination: 594

“The Dead President.” Bradstreet’s 21 Sept. 1901 v29n1212: p. 594.
full text
William McKinley (death: personal response); McKinley assassination (personal response); William McKinley (political character); William McKinley (personal history); William McKinley (personal character).
Named persons
William McKinley.


The Dead President

     Although the sad news from the bedside of the stricken President at the close of last week had to some extent prepared the public mind, yet the previous accounts of his condition had been so encouraging that the announcement of his death on Saturday morning affected men with a sense of cruel shock. It seems from the statements of the doctors that at no time after he was wounded was it possible to save his life. Thus, for the third time in the history of the republic, has its chief magistrate fallen at the hands of an assassin. The pity of it cuts to the heart. A worthless fanatic, of no more consequence in the general scheme of things than a scorpion or a snake, has it in his power to terminate the career of one of the foremost men of his time, a man as beloved for his kindliness of nature as admired for his commanding qualities of character and of mind. It is all inexpressibly sad.
     It is difficult, while the grave has scarcely closed over a statesman who has borne his full share in the conflicts of party, to form a just estimate of his position in the annals of country and of his time. It may, however, be affirmed of the dead President that since the civil war, in which he began his services to the nation, no man has reached the presidency who was so well qualified by the training which comes from legislative and executive experience. Mr. McKinley had served fourteen years in the House of Representatives and four years in the governorship of Ohio before coming to the chair of the chief magistracy. An intense study of fiscal questions gave him a kind of equipment which was of the greatest service in securing for him the ascendency [sic] which he attained in his legislative career at a time when the revenue policy of the government was the most eagerly debated issue of the time. His experience in Congress undoubtedly contributed largely toward fitting him for the discharge of the duties of the executive office under a form of government where the coöperation of both branches of the government is necessary for the effective embodiment of policies in legislation, while his active participation in the politics of the time gave him much knowledge of human nature, and, not least important, of political human nature, which otherwise might have been lacking to him.
     All this, however, has to do with the acquirement of the man through training; there remain the qualities of his mind and character apart from the play of outside forces. Here we touch upon a difficult matter, the measurement of a personality whose activity has been too recent perhaps to admit, not merely of a final judgment, but of an adequate apprehension. We think, however, it may be said without fear of contradiction, that no President in our time approached Mr. McKinley in the art of dealing with legislatures or with men. His experience was of aid to him, but he was a diplomat by nature. He had not, perhaps, the faculty of anticipating the future, but he saw clearly, and with no deficiency of imagination, the issues of the present. This is tantamount to saying that he had the capacity of growth, of which his attitude towards the questions of the gold standard and reciprocity furnished striking illustrations. In private character he was a model citizen, exceptionally tender and devoted in family life, stainless and without reproach in every relation. At the basis of his public character was an unfeigned and fervid patriotism which, before his death and to no small extent through his own example and conduct, he saw reflected in every corner of the country he loved so well. It seems certain that Mr. McKinley’s lot fell in a fortunate time for his fame, but he measured up to his duties and his opportunities, and his personality was a dominant one in determining the course of events, which will place among the highest in the list of our chief magistrates the name of the Extender of the Republic.



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