Source: Milwaukee Journal
Source type: newspaper
Document type: editorial
Document title: “The Death of President M’Kinley”
City of publication: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Date of publication: 14 September 1901
Volume number: 19
Issue number: none
|“The Death of President M’Kinley.” Milwaukee Journal 14 Sept. 1901 v19: p. 6.|
|William McKinley (death: personal response);|
|Abraham Lincoln; William McKinley.|
The Death of President M’Kinley
William McKinley, president of the
United States, is dead. For the third time a president has fallen at the hand
of murder. Neither station, human love nor the voice of a great people can stay
for a moment the end to which all must come. His high office brought honor and
with it grave responsibilities. With it also, came danger; for, though this
is a republic and he held his place by the selection of the people for a brief
term only, yet the evil nature buried in the lowest depths of human wickedness
is able to reach the highest. The very greatness of the trust imposed attracts
the envy and hatred of the workers of iniquity. The head of the highest and
most honored is laid low by the hand of the most depraved. Why are these things
President McKinley had just entered his second term. He had attained the highest point to which the ambition of the American citizen can reach. With four years of experience behind him and no ulterior object ahead of him, with the training and balance of ripe years, he stood in a position to do the noblest work alloted [sic] to any man. The aspirant had reached attainment and the politician could now sink to the man, who, with broadened vision, could do the country best service and so exalt the citizen ruler before the world. Yet he is stricken. Why are these things so?
Lincoln fell just when his services were most valuable and most needed, at the end of civil strife. President McKinley is stricken at a moment when a great commercial revolution is well started, which needs his guiding hand to control and enforce. His last public utterance points out the path he has chosen to tread. Where now is the great leader? His office will be filled; but who shall fill his place?
The government never dies. Its workings depend on no single life or any number of lives. A change in office may vary tendencies and alter personal relations; it cannot transform the government. So the great humiliation fallen upon our people arises from the fact that in a free country, where its officers come from the people and return again to them, the elements nursed in other countries by unchanging suffering if not oppression, should yet fail to discriminate and here do their dastardly work, availing of nothing but the sorrow and humiliation of our citizens. Why should such things be?
A whole people is touched with sympathy for the man. A wide circle of friends made in private and public life, mourn for him. A nation feels the shame of it. But no discouragement is mingled with the tears. We feel that our chosen representatives are still of us and not separate; that they will continue to go about among us, as one of us, with confidence in the respect of men and of their personal safety. This only is the way to make our institutions safe and a republic impregnable. It may cost us even yet valuable lives, but this course must in the end win out. It will be a sorry day for our system of government when we have to surround our representatives with armed forces and drive the people from personal intercourse with them on suitable occasions. Will not this event aid in bringing us closer together and establishing on a firmer and more intelligent basis the right relations between our representatives and the great body of the people?
A great people on great occasions puts aside all littleness and feels one commanding impulse. Sorrow and regret mingle at this moment in the minds of 70,000,000. We are at one. Is it too much to hope that this will lead to better things? Meanwhile, the nation mourns.