Publication information
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Source: North American Review
Source type: magazine
Document type: article
Document title: “The Power and Duty of the Federal Government to Protect Its Agents”
Author(s): Aldrich, Edgar
Date of publication: December 1901
Volume number: 173
Issue number: 541
Pagination: 746-57 (excerpt below includes only page 746)

Aldrich, Edgar. “The Power and Duty of the Federal Government to Protect Its Agents.” North American Review Dec. 1901 v173n541: pp. 746-57.
McKinley assassination; McKinley assassination (motive).
Named persons
Leon Czolgosz; William McKinley.
“By Edgar Aldrich, LL.D., United States District Judge for New Hampshire.”


The Power and Duty of the Federal Government to Protect Its Agents [excerpt]

     Czolgosz killed Mr. McKinley, not because he was William McKinley, but because he was President of the United States; not because of his personality, but because he represented the idea of law and government. The violence was directed against the official, rather than against the private individual; against the office, not the man. All the surrounding circumstances, as well as the admission of the assassin, show that personal malice, ordinarily present in crime, was altogether absent, and that malice against the idea of government was present. The motive for the fatal shot was not to destroy McKinley, except as a step in the direction of destroying the idea of government and law, which, for the time being, he represented as the head of the executive branch of the government. Mr. McKinley was the representative of the people in respect to their idea of government; and the blow being directed against the idea, it follows that the real crime was against the people and their government, rather than against McKinley as an individual.



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