Source: Milwaukee Journal
Source type: newspaper
Document type: editorial
Document title: “President M’Kinley”
City of publication: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Date of publication: 7 September 1901
Volume number: 19
Issue number: none
|“President M’Kinley.” Milwaukee Journal 7 Sept. 1901 v19: p. 6.|
|McKinley assassination (personal response); lawlessness.|
The assault on the president and his possible
death has shocked the country and the world. It is all the more shocking from
the fact that he represents the people of a free country, placed in office by
their voice for a brief term of years, when he would return to citizenship and
be like his fellows. There is no excuse founded on unchangeable oppression.
There is no possibility of changing or injuring the government. The assassination
is the dastardly work of a criminal crank, finding no response among men not
as crazy as himself.
But it is time for the people to consider what all this prolonged howl of discontent, with vituperation and epithets, is leading to. The great body of the people do not believe it; they take it for what it is worth, political agitation. But the emotional come to believe a part of it and the cranks, the whole of it. There is no country on God’s footstool, and never has been, so free, prosperous and happy as this United States. Do we appreciate this? Is it not time, and this the occasion, to change our tone and pay some regard, even in our vaporings, to the great truth? Are we not stirring up bad blood? Is it right to predict, if not threaten, revolution and bloodshed as an incentive to party action? We reap the fruits of this today, in assassination, public disgrace and loss of that personal confidence which has always so honored our public officers and our people. Are we not driving rapidly toward a class separation not before known to our people and not in fact existing?
Mr. McKinley is president of the United States by act of its citizens. We may differ to any extent with his policy and hs [sic] party action; but he stands for something more than his policy; he stands for the will of seventy millions of people, by their choice. In this calamity, all have a part. Party and policy sink out of sight in the dignity and honor of a free people. This thing touches the honor of our common country. The man, McKinley, is like any other reputable and prominent man; but that our president, an officer chosen of the people, is struck down by a malcontent, possibly encouraged by our own waywardness in political discussion, is quite another matter.
It is well that the law was allowed to take its course with the assassin. A lynching would have wrought as much harm as the attempt at murder itself. This is no time to condone lawless acts and a whole people should not bear the stain of anything of the kind. The wholesome restraint of the law was never more necessary and important. The possibility of such a crime as that attempted should cool our judgment and steady us down to a more exact obedience to law, which is adequate when obeyed and enforced. If we are to be and remain a free people, we must govern ourselves and obey our own laws. The criminal classes, the emotionalists and perverters of public sentiment will give us enough to do without ourselves falling into their disorderly ways.