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Source: Lucifer, the Light-Bearer
Source type: magazine
Document type: editorial
Document title: “Meaning of the Pageant”
Author(s): Harman, Moses
Date of publication: 28 September 1901
Volume number: 5
Issue number: 37
Series: third series
Pagination: 300

Harman, Moses. “Meaning of the Pageant.” Lucifer, the Light-Bearer 28 Sept. 1901 v5n37 (3rd series): p. 300.
full text
McKinley funeral services; society (criticism).
Named persons
William McKinley.
The date of publication provided by the magazine is September 28, E. M. 301.

Whole No. 884.

Alternate magazine title: Lucifer, the Lightbearer.


Meaning of the Pageant

     Since our last Lucifer went to press the greatest funeral pageant ever seen in this country, if not the greatest ever known in the history of the Anglo-Saxon race, has come and gone. Besides the public demonstrations of grief the private or household tributes of affection and honor for the dead President were such as were never heard of before.
     Without attempting a description of these public and private tributes to the memory of the late William McKinley I wish rather to briefly consider the ethical meaning, the political import, of these phenomenal, these wholly unprecedented demonstrations. To sum the matter up in one short phrase, the public and private tributes of respect, of honor and affection paid to the memory the [sic] departed ruler, mean first and chiefly—

     Admitting for the argument that William McKinley was a model man in all the relations of life—as citizen, as husband, as father, as friend, as lawyer or member of any other profession or vocation, it must be admitted that such honors were quite out of place in a land of so-called republican simplicity and equality.
     Neither could all this phenomenal demonstration have been caused by the fact that McKinley was the REPRESENTATIVE of eighty millions of free and independent people, since, as representing others, he could expect no greater honor than the individual persons he is supposed to represent. If he was a representative American citizen his funeral should have been in accord with that idea, which, as I understand it, means the ABSENCE of, the negation of, the pomp and display commonly associated with the monarchies and aristocracies of the old world.
     What then? Simply that we are forced to the conclusion that these funeral honors typify and symbolize the changed American ideals. Honors paid to McKinley are not honors paid to the man, the citizen, or the representative of Republicanism—in its true meaning, that of a COMMONWEALTH in which all are equal—but honors paid to the chief IDEA for which the McKinley administration stood sponsor.
     That idea, that principle, that standard of action, or goal of ambition, as we all know, was political EXPANSION, territorial ACQUISITION, commercial AGGRANDISEMENT, adoption of the tactics of England in India and South Africa, of Russia in Asia, of Spain in the days of its emperors—in one word, IMPERIALISM.
     The obsequies that put away from sight the mortal remains of William McKinley, may be said, in no highly strained figurative sense, to have buried also about all that was left of the old ideas of republican simplicity and equality of rights for all and special privileges for none.



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