Source type: newspaper
Document type: editorial
Document title: “Assassinations”
City of publication: Indianapolis, Indiana
Date of publication: 21 September 1901
Volume number: 14
Issue number: 38
|“Assassinations.” Freeman 21 Sept. 1901 v14n38: p. .|
|presidential assassinations (comparison); William McKinley; anarchism (personal response).|
|James A. Garfield; Charles J. Guiteau [misspelled below]; Abraham Lincoln; William McKinley.|
For the third time in the history of [t]his country
the chief executive has been laid low by the assassin’s hand. “That death loves
a shining mark” has been too well exemplified by the taking off of three of
the most beloved men that ever graced the presidential chair. Owing to the circumstances
of Lincoln’s day he was not at his death the idol of a united country. But his
vast service to mankind has not failed to wring from mankind a just recognition
of his eminent worth, and to-day he is gloriously memorialized, immortalized
in stone, bronze, and, furthermore, in the hearts of his countrymen everywhere
regardless of sectional lines, races or creeds.
President Garfield, like the lamented McKinley, was enjoying immense popularity at home and abroad, such as is seldom allotted the heads of governments, when, lo! to the world’s astonishment, a Giteau rushes on the scene, and the rest is known.
Owing to the high tensioned times the natural con-commitants [sic] of a civil war the assassination of Lincoln was not entirely unexpected, or if unexpected was not the matter for such complete surprise as the two later events. Political ambition and its disappointments were urged as the actuating motives for the death of Garfield, a very flimsy reason for plunging the nation in grief and distress. The individual had to stand for the very grave crime of murder—a regicide, so to speak, which of necessity worked harm to the individual’s own family and immediate circle of friends. When one’s self esteem is carried to such a pitch it is no wonder that the question of sanity is mooted. For the death of President McKinley there is no reason assigned. He dies at the dictates of an order of assassins who have set themselves up as the high priests of all earth, caballing and plotting for the overthrow of its rulers because they fail to measure up to their fanatically conceived standards, signing away the lives of the earth’s best as they would jostle puppets on a board. This world of governments, to their notion, must be fashioned according to their liking. The wisdom of ages, counts, but naught with them; it must be set aside to accommodate a whim, a caprice, a fancy.
Mr. McKinley was universally loved and respected; even those whom he opposed through the virtue of his office were made to feel that it was a reluctant opposition. The conduct of his administration has been so wise, yet so conservative, so full of humanity that the era in which we live was bidding fair to become the country’s greatest in its tendency to wipe out sectional lines and differences.
In his state papers he always called attention to the existing wrongs of his own country, disfranchisements, lynchings or what not. We speak advisedly here, for now and then in the past, he had been reminded of the outrages against Negroes, in a manner that would indicate that all was not being done that could be done; but these wails were few and far between, as is proven by that generous outburst of sympathy that has welled forth from the hearts of black men and women the country over.
The death of President McKinley has called forth more expressions of profound sympathy and regrets than that of any man of modern times. As before stated, the sympathy is universal. He grew rapidly in the estimation of the people from the time of his first inauguration, when his great Godlike qualities were not so well known. Time has served to fix him an enduring place in the hearts of the now sorrowing people. He demonstrated his great capacity, his matchless poise and humanenass [sic], hence this outpouring of hearts.
The President’s death will justly call for the expulsion or suppression of societies formed for the purpose of striking down the heads of governments. Free speech, guaranteed by the constitution, must not be construed as license, the liberty to strike down the institution that makes the privilege possible. Let these discontents ply their vocation elsewhere. Our country is entirely too small for the introduction of their theories. They can erect governments to their own liking in other climes. The many millions here are far too content with their form of government to allow a handful of revolutionists to change it. The brood of anarchists and kindred institutions are a menace to civilized society. Society cannot afford to pay the cost.