Source: Blue Grass Blade
Source type: newspaper
Document type: editorial
Document title: “Is M’Kinley Forgotten So Soon?”
City of publication: Lexington, Kentucky
Date of publication: 14 September 1902
Volume number: 11
Issue number: 30
|“Is M’Kinley Forgotten So Soon?” Blue Grass Blade 14 Sept. 1902 v11n30: p. .|
|McKinley memorialization; William McKinley (criticism).|
|Robert Burns; Euripides; Benjamin Franklin; Robert Fulton; Stephen Girard; Thomas Jefferson; Francis Marion; William McKinley; Robert Morris; Samuel F. B. Morse; Thomas Paine; John G. Whittier.|
The editorial (below) appears in a section of the newspaper titled “Timely Topics.”
The date of publication provided on the newspaper’s front page is September 14, E. M. 302.
Is M’Kinley Forgotten So Soon?
Is a question now being asked by many editors
in their editorials—pointing to the fact that only $200,000, of the $1,500,000
necessary for the erection of his tomb, has been raised, and that with difficulty,
and no prospect of raising more.
In my opinion, a square block of granite costing $500 is expenditure enough for marking the burial place of any man, however great. These great shafts to great men are monstrosities. They are nothing but a medieval attempt to follow the fashion of gorgeous burial of barbarous kings, and popes.
The plain flat slab covering the remains of Benjamin Franklin in the little graveyard in Philadelphia cost hardly $100. If the nation feels that it is good enough for Benjamin Franklin, a common boulder is good enough for McKinley.
His death, by violence, counts for nothing, since he was the victim of his own political deals. Measured by the services done his country, so long as the nation ignores, by testimonial, the services of Thomas Paine, Robert Morris, Stephen Girard, Francis Marion, and other heroes of the Revolution,—so long as a common brick vault is good enough to cover the remains of Thomas Jefferson, why should the people of this country erect a gorgeous mausoleum outrivalling those of oriental kings, over William McKinley.
It is all nonsense anyhow. A monument does not make a man great in death.
“This monument does not make thee great, O Euripides, but thou makest the monument great,” was engraved on the tomb of that great philosopher.
Some of the finest and most expensive pieces of monumental art in the cemeteries of Cincinnati stand over the carrion of bloated beer brewers, while many of the children of science and of song lie in unmarked graves.
There is some allowance to be made in erecting a modest monument over a man like Burns, or Robert Fulton or Samuel F. B. Morse, or John Greenleaf Whittier. They contributed much for all humanity. But Wm. McKinley never contributed a word, thought or deed which was of universal benefit to mankind, or which was superior to the average politician of the country, or to the common soldier in the field.
To build a $1,500,000 monument to any man, and to him particularly, while little children are dying in tenements for lack of fresh air and proper food, is a sample of insanity continually breaking out in the American character.
The failure to raise the money has its amusing side. The trusts for which he was their pliable tool, won’t shell out. He made them hundreds of millions, and now that he is dead, they won’t glorify him in stone.
It is the old, old story. The moment you do an unprincipled thing for some other man, that moment he ceases to respect you. How can the trusts have any respect for McKinley?
There is absolutely no sense in piling up stone over the grave. Statues of our great men in bronze or marble, are object lessons to young America, and of these I approve, beside [sic] they cultivate the taste for art. But many of these statues are of men of inferior parts, while those who have shed luster upon the arts and literature and the sciences go unhonored. It is time that public sentiment shift from this perpetuating the memory of men whose only recommendation for honor is action in brutal war, and in their place erect statues of some of the great women of America.