Source: Cœur d’Alene Press
Source type: newspaper
Document type: editorial
Document title: “Strain on a President”
City of publication: Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
Date of publication: 28 September 1901
Volume number: 10
Issue number: 34
|“Strain on a President.” Cœur d’Alene Press 28 Sept. 1901 v10n34: p. .|
|William McKinley (medical condition); presidents (health).|
|Chester A. Arthur; Otto von Bismarck [misspelled below]; Robert Cecil [identified as Salisbury below]; Grover Cleveland; Francesco Crispi; William Ewart Gladstone; Benjamin Harrison; William McKinley; Adolphe Thiers.|
Strain on a President
President McKinley was a man of fine constitution,
exemplary habits and always enjoyed good health. And yet, according to the statement
of the physicians who attended him in his illness, [n]ature did little to assist
in resisting the awful shock to which he was subjected or to aid in the healing
of wounds that proved to be fatal. The late president was supposed to be in
good bodily condition and he had a temperament and resolution that ordinarily
would make for convalescence. But it now transpires that he was suffering from
a kind of physical and mental exhaustion brought on by almost uninterrupted
work for a period over more than four years. He was ti[r]ed out, and his strength,
vitality and natural vigor had bee[n] so impaired by the cares and duties of
his high position that it wa[s] not in him to respond physically when the critical
time arrived, says the Spokesman-Review.
The work of our president is so full of responsibilities and exactions, so wearying and crowded with disagreeable tasks that not one of them in the past has given up the office in as good health as when he e[n]tered it. All of our presidents have been men of robust physical characteristics, but it has taken only a few years to show that they have in some measure lost their vigor. Their faces become palid [sic], drawn and leathery and there are invariably signs about them that they are worn and wearied. Those who had b[ee]n closely associated with Mr. McKinley say that since the time he became president he had aged ten years. There was a similar sapping of vitality in the cases of Arthur, Cleveland and Harrison.
European statesmen in high po[s]itions and with responsibilities almost equal to those of heads of state do not seem to be under the physical strain that is associated with the duties of the president of the United States. Gladstone was in the arena for half a century and was vigorous to the last. Bismark was doing tremendous work for over thirty years and yet died at a good old age. Thiers was in public life and in high positions during a period of forty-five years, but he lived to be eighty. Crispi, who died recently, joined revolutionary movements in Italy 50 years ago, survived them all and passed away at more than three sco[re] and ten. Salisbury, still British premier, is an old man, but ill health and failing powers have come but recently.
Undoubtedly it is the minor details and small vexations that wear upon the presidents of this country. He is elected by popular suffrage and every citizen feels that the chief magist[ra]te should give him ear. Much time is devoted to meeting the public and perhaps too much attention is give[n] to insignificant matters. Listening to the claims of office seekers and d[istr]ibuting patronage [a]re tasks to b[re]ak a giant and, there is no doubt that from these sou[r]ces comes most of the worry that is so damaging to an executive’s heal[th]. The trials of the position are many and it is vain to look for [r]elief. Every president who do[es] his du[t]y must necessarily give up the best part of his physical being in the interest of the people he is s[e]rving.