Publication information
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Source: World’s Work
Source type: magazine
Document type: editorial
Document title: “The Character of Czolgosz”
Author(s): anonymous
Date of publication: November 1901
Volume number: 3
Issue number: 1
Pagination: 1366

“The Character of Czolgosz.” World’s Work Nov. 1901 v3n1: p. 1366.
full text
Leon Czolgosz; Leon Czolgosz (trial: personal response); anarchism (impact on Czolgosz).
Named persons
Leon Czolgosz.


The Character of Czolgosz

     The trial, the conviction and the sentence to death of the assassin of President McKinley were conducted with satisfactory promptness and with impressive dignity. The Court assigned him most eminent counsel, the trial was conducted with due regard to all the the prisoner’s rights, and the several threats to lynch him were so well thwarted that his life was at no time in danger from violence. His demeanor showed a stunned or an undeveloped nature—perhaps both. He seems not to have thought out the consequences of his crime. He was bound to know that he would sacrifice his own life, but he seems not to have been aware before his trial of what such a doom meant. He showed nothing of the defiance of the mood that he was in during the early days of his imprisonment. In the courtroom his answers to questions were almost inaudible, and he displayed terror when there seemed danger that he might be lynched after his removal from Buffalo to Auburn.
     There was something childish—an undeveloped, stunted intelligence—shown in his demeanor. His “philosophy” did not sustain him. He maintained, no doubt with truth, that he had no accomplices. The terrible crime was conceived by himself as the result of a naturally weak nature meditating on the doctrine of violence. It is probable that, if he had not happened to encounter an apostle of anarchy, he would have lived a commonplace, undeveloped life, without doing any act of violence and without developing any particularly vicious traits. There was nothing to show that he had any proper realization of the enormity of the crime that he committed. He was simply a pitiful victim of anarchism. But he was not insane, not irresponsible. He was only a degenerate. He gives the best possible reason for all judicious restraint on the preaching of dangerous doctrines. When they lodge in a weak mind like his there is always a grave danger of tragic results.



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