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Source: Literary Digest
Source type: magazine
Document type: article
Document title: “The Fate of Czolgosz as Viewed Abroad”
Author(s): anonymous
Date of publication:
2 November 1901
Volume number: 23
Issue number: 18
Pagination: 541

“The Fate of Czolgosz as Viewed Abroad.” Literary Digest 2 Nov. 1901 v23n18: p. 541.
full text
Leon Czolgosz; Leon Czolgosz (quotations about); McKinley assassination (international response); anarchism (international response).
Named persons
Leon Czolgosz; Elizabeth; Humbert I; René Lavallée; William McKinley.


The Fate of Czolgosz as Viewed Abroad

IN commenting on the trial and conviction of Leon Czolgosz, for the assassination of President McKinley, most European journals refer approvingly to the “short, sharp” way in which the conviction was brought about. The legal process was admirable, says the Journal des Débats (Paris), and merits the imitation of European courts. The assassin received full justice, but “no sickly, sentimental delays.” René Lavallée, writing in the religious review Correspondant (Paris), declares that Czolgosz has plainly shown Socialism to be the root from which Anarchism springs, and that to eradicate Anarchism the nations of the world must uproot Socialism. The Daily Chronicle (London), on the other hand, observes:

     “The Socialist, with his fervent zeal and generally impracticable theories, is only a Liberal bitten with the fatal desire to ticket himself afresh. The Anarchist—and this is the point to be chiefly noticed—is in no way a further and natural development of the Socialist. He is something entirely different in kind.”

     The Morning Post (London) speaks of the “unequalness of compensation in the deaths.” It says:

     “President McKinley lingered seven days in pain, and his assassin will be mercifully and swiftly executed by electricity; but if the conditions seem unequal, if the life of Czolgosz should appear an inadequate compensation for the life which he took, a reconciling reflection supervenes. President McKinley lives for all time in the grateful recollection of the peoples of two continents; the name of his murderer is execrated, and his memory blotted out. There survives only the resolve to hunt down his species without mercy, and to release the new century from the burden which oppressed the concluding years of the old. . . . The blood of Elizabeth of Austria, of Humbert of Italy, and of William McKinley of the United States, to go back but three years in history, cries aloud from their untimely graves.”

     Czolgosz really killed because he envied, observes The Spectator (London). His only defense is that one man “can have no right to service and attention while another has none,”—an opinion which would make of friendship a capital crime. “That secures service and attention as much as money does. It used to be believed that human character was an unchangeable thing, but sympathy is to a great extent a modern virtue, and envy has risen into a motive power of the first strength.” To call this man an Anarchist is to insult human nature, says The Outlook (London):

     “The man is such a weakling morally and intellectually, as to be incapable of assimilating any reasoned theory of action, even when it is of the deleterious nature of so-called Anarchism. His best reason for shooting Mr. McKinley was that he ‘did not believe in one man having so much service and attention while another man has none.’ Obviously the remedy he should have striven for was the removal of the service and attention; whereas he proceeds to shoot the object of it. This taint of defective common sense is the mark of the murderous political Anarchist. He is mostly a youth of low intellectual type, in nearly every case fresh from some meeting where doctrines of political equality are spouted from foaming mouths, whose simulations of rage are translated by him into murder. Anarchy would fain abolish marriage as well as authority, and it seems as reasonable for the disciples of Anarchy to shoot all married persons as to kill all rulers.”

     The Medical Press (London), in an article on “The Psychology of Assassination,” reviews the history of the killing of the world’s rulers, in the course of which it remarks that “one of the most startling examples of the meeting of extremes in all our terrestrial affairs is offered by the fact, which the history of the last quarter of a century goes to prove, that the respective heads of the absolute despotism of Russia and of the unlimited democracy of the United States of America occupy the most unsafe position of any public men.” Behind the whole history of such deplorable cases, concludes this medical journal, lurks the moral of the “Vanity of Human Wishes,” the hitherto complete failure of establishing upon earth a reign of complete “Peace among men.” Poverty, misery, and discontent will as surely be met with in the most advanced democracy as in the most absolute monarchy. So will their consequences, physical and moral. “The materialism and utilitarianism of the present age have aimed, and with a considerable amount of success, at stamping out all the higher emotions, as their features and results were visionary and unpractical. Superstition and even faith were to be extinguished, as enemies to reason and physical truth.”—Translations made for THE LITERARY DIGEST.



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