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Source: Vanderbilt University Quarterly
Source type: magazine
Document type: editorial column
Document title: “Current Comment”
Author(s): anonymous
Date of publication: October 1901
Volume number: 1
Issue number: 4
Pagination: 247-50 (excerpt below includes only pages 247-48)

“Current Comment.” Vanderbilt University Quarterly Oct. 1901 v1n4: pp. 247-50.
William McKinley (death: personal response); William McKinley (mourning); William McKinley (relations with American South).
Named persons
William McKinley.


Current Comment [excerpt]

     THE marked sorrow that the South has shown over the death of President McKinley has been commented on with surprise in many quarters. The nature and extent of these comments is proof of the fact that the conditions of Southern life and thought are even yet poorly understood away from home. We are still judged as a peculiar sect or tribe, a Nazareth out of which can come little that is good. There are no doubt many reasons—some of them good ones—for this state of things, but it is only fair to say that there has been in the South no expression of sorrow that was not felt. We have not been playing at tears. The grief manifested over the death of our President was sincere, and is a proof of the influence he exercised in the obliteration of party lines and sectional feeling. His kind words, his generous deeds, won the hearts of Southerners as of Northerners, and the recollection of political antagonism faded away in the pride and affection felt for a chief magistrate who was also a gentle, noble, kindly, manly man. But it is also true that President McKinley had a larger number of political supporters in the South than might have been supposed. Quite a number of votes were cast for him both in 1896 and 1900 by men who had usually affiliated with the Democratic party. Some did this openly, some without avowing it; and [247][248] many who did not venture to vote for him rejoiced at his election. The growth of such a sentiment is a hopeful sign. There is always need of a strong class of independent voters in States where one political party is largely in control. In such communities there is no discussion of mooted questions, no attrition of opposing principles, no stimulus to the ruling party to purify itself. A large independent vote of the educated classes is the only way in which party supremacy can be threatened. Too long has it been in some States that the political freedom of a gentleman has meant freedom to vote with only one political party. It was stated privately a few years ago by a political leader that a certain eminent professor would have been elected President of his institution had he not voted for Mr. McKinley in 1896. There is need of a larger number of independent Republicans in Massachusetts and independent Democrats in the South. Our colleges and universities may contribute to this end by creating an atmosphere of personal freedom and independence, by sending forth year by year young men who had rather be right than regular, and who love their country better than the success of any one political party.



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