Source: Congregationalist and Christian World
Source type: magazine
Document type: editorial
Document title: “The Duty of the Hour”
Date of publication: 21 September 1901
Volume number: 86
Issue number: 38
|“The Duty of the Hour.” Congregationalist and Christian World 21 Sept. 1901 v86n38: p. 409.|
|William McKinley (death: personal response); William McKinley (public statements); William McKinley (presidential character); Theodore Roosevelt (assumption of presidency).|
|William McKinley; Theodore Roosevelt.|
The Duty of the Hour
The death of the President summons every citizen
to a sacred duty. It is to give to the Government, with its new Chief Executive,
prompt and hearty support. Every one by his spirit and by definite act and word
may fulfill this duty.
In an address before the Catholic summer school at Cliff Haven, N. Y., President McKinley said: “Whatever the Government of the United States has been able to accomplish has been because the hearts of the people have been with the Government of the United States. Our patriotism is neither sectional nor sectarian. We may differ in our political and religious beliefs, but we are united for our country. Loyalty to the Government is our national creed.”
With such a faith Mr. McKinley has won the confidence of the American people as a whole as no other president during his lifetime ever has done. Under his benign leadership prejudices have melted away, sectional divisions have disappeared, the North and South have become united, the people have become one in mutual confidence. This unity has been accomplished during a period when new problems of great national and international importance have pressed for decision, and when diverse policies have been urged by passionate partisan advocates. It has been accomplished in the face of harsh, unreasonable criticism of his plans, misrepresentation of his motives, efforts to array class against class, and to make the President appear as the tool of rich, ambitious and selfish men.
Mr. McKinley’s statesmanship has also won for this country the respect and confidence of other nations to a degree never before known. He has gathered about him honorable associates fitted by training and ability to solve great problems of government. He led our nation to victory in war, not only be prowess and skill, but in the spirit of peace. His purpose has been nobly maintained in the sight of all men to guide the nation to do the highest service to the peoples who, temporarily or permanently, have become dependent upon it. This purpose will appear more clearly now that he has left us, but he ever sought to make it plain. He expressed his ambition as President when he said, “There must be a constant movement toward a higher and nobler civilization, a civilization that shall make its conquests without resort to war and achieve its greatest victories pursuing the arts of peace.”
The sincerity of Mr. McKinley’s purpose has been attested by a humble, consistent Christian life, crowned by his dying for the nation with expressions of faith and love coming spontaneously from his lips in the supreme crisis of his sacrifice, like those of his confessed Lord and Saviour.
The plain duty to which every one is summoned in this hour of the nation’s trial is to maintain in himself this confidence in the Government which President McKinley has so nobly and wisely fostered and to promote it in others. Every right-minded citizen will give loyal support to the new President. Mr. Roosevelt is the youngest man to enter this high office, but he is by no means inexperienced or untested. He has filled successively city, state and Federal official positions of great responsibility, both civil and military, and every one of them honorably, ably, and with unqualified devotion to the public welfare. He is a man of exuberant vitality, physical and mental. He has shown his bravery in war, his wisdom in administering government in peace, his sturdy integrity and Christian character. The office which brings him into the presidential chair he did not seek, it was thrust on him against his will. He has shown himself worthy to follow in Mr. McKinley’s footsteps. His first official utterance was the expected one that he will endeavor to continue absolutely unbroken the wise policy of his predecessor.
Not for his sake only, but for the sake of the nation, every citizen should be loyal to the new President. Let criticism, when it must be made, be fair and kind, and let its form of expression honor the high office he fills. Let his associates have the credit they deserve as men serving their fellowmen with the highest aims. Let American citizens frown down disrespect for the nation’s chosen leaders as disrespect to the nation itself. From the deathbed of a great lover of his country, giving up his life for it, we have a fresh summons to serve it nobly.
Help the new President.