Publication information

Jewish Comment
Source type: newspaper
Document type: editorial
Document title: “American Self-Control”
Author(s): anonymous
City of publication: Baltimore, Maryland
Date of publication: 13 September 1901
Volume number: 13
Issue number: 22
Pagination: 6

“American Self-Control.” Jewish Comment 13 Sept. 1901 v13n22: p. 6.
full text
McKinley assassination (personal response); McKinley assassination (public response); lawlessness (mob rule).
Named persons
Leon Czolgosz; William McKinley.

American Self-Control

     The attempt on President McKinley’s life was marked by such cold-blooded brutality and treachery that the whole world rang with a cry of horrified pity. The absolute absence of motive, except such as is supplied by the violent ravings of the oblique-minded against society, makes the crime, on account of its utter wantonness, more detestable. The cry of rage that broke forth from the American people was perfectly natural, and the wild talk of punishment and revenge indulged in by serious-minded men, having regard to their agitation, should not be taken too literally. In one respect the American people showed remarkable repression and self-control. The fact that Czolgosz has foreign antecedents naturally drew from excited men wholesale condemnation of foreigners on general principles, but the people at large have not attempted in any way to make the Polish inhabitants of this country suffer for their countryman’s crime. The responsibility has been limited to the criminal himself. This is so just that one might think the point not worthy of note, but when we recall what the Italians, the Chinese and the negroes have suffered at the hands of an enraged mob because of some crime committed by a member of their race or nation, we realize how the American people have tempered their rage with justice. Neither Catholicism nor the Poles should be burdened with the heavy charge Czolgosz must answer for. Such crimes as Czolgosz’s make it clear how cruel it is to hold a people responsible for the wrongdoings of an individual, yet at the stressful moment the distinction is apt to be forgotten in the wild desire for revenge. Jewish history is full of such instances, and who knows but that even now and in this country a crime by some misguided Jew would be visited upon the heads of others of the race.