Publication information

Source: Modern Culture
Source type: magazine
Document type: editorial
Document title: “The Assassination of the President”
Author(s): anonymous
Date of publication: October 1901
Volume number: 14
Issue number: 2
Pagination: 153

“The Assassination of the President.” Modern Culture Oct. 1901 v14n2: p. 153.
full text
anarchism (dealing with); anarchism (laws against).
Named persons
Leon Czolgosz.

The Assassination of the President

With unspeakable grief and horror we heard the sad and terrifying news, “The President is shot,” as it was clicked from wire to wire and spoken from mouth to mouth throughout the length and breadth of the land until the whole nation quivered under the electric shock. That any being in this wide land should harbor a murderous design against the kindly, courteous gentleman who has been twice chosen to the first office in the government of our republic is past belief. That the dastardly hand of the assassin was raised against the office and not the man makes the assault all the more deadly, and while we mourn for his illustrious victim our hearts are filled with impotent rage against the pestilential sect of anti-social fanatics of which Czolgosz is a member. Anarchy, which strikes its venomous blows at the best-ordered and most firmly established governments of Europe, finds easy prey in a republic where the safeguards which elsewhere hedge about the ruler of the state are traditionally disregarded. Society as at present organized affords but slight protection against political assassins who work singly or in small groups, and the spread of a political cult whose believers hold their lives cheap as against an injury which they may inflict upon the social order is a danger so insidious as to justify extreme measures against the evil, if indeed extreme measures are of any avail. The stringent laws of Germany and Russia have thus far failed to extirpate anarchy in those countries, although it is possible that these laws have operated to increase the emigration of anarchists to our shores and so have heightened the danger for us. If it were possible to establish an international penal colony in some remote part of the earth, to which all governments might send the avowed anarchists living within their borders, and there leave them to their own devices without control of any kind, providing only that there should be no escape, the practical example would be salutary. Unfortunately such a scheme is impracticable. Much might be done, however, even in free America for the suppression of the anarchistic propaganda by making inciting to crime a penal offense whether followed by an overt act or not, and by readjusting penalties for crimes of violence on a basis which should furnish the greatest possible protection to society by giving due weight to the intentions of the criminal. Wherever the homicidal mania has shown itself, even though the crime committed be but a trifling offense, the criminal should be incapacitated for further mischief. A few changes in the statutes and in the criminal procedure of the states, a swifter and sterner enforcement of existing laws against violence, whether of mobs or of individuals, that endangers human life, together with a strict surveillance of known anarchists would do much to protect society from such crimes in the future. But the real cure for the evil must wait for the slow process of assimilation and education of alien and untutored races pouring in an ever increasing deluge on our shores. An extension of our Chinese exclusion acts to include, for a generation at least, all foreigners of the laboring class would be a justifiable measure of self-protection, and it might remedy other ills besides the spread of anarchist doctrines in free America.