Source: Missouri Socialist
Source type: newspaper
Document type: editorial
Document title: “The Assassination of President McKinley”
City of publication: St. Louis, Missouri
Date of publication: 14 September 1901
Volume number: 1
Issue number: 35
|“The Assassination of President McKinley.” Missouri Socialist 14 Sept. 1901 v1n35: p. .|
|McKinley assassination (personal response: socialists); anarchism (personal response); socialism; anarchism (compared with socialism); the press (criticism); McKinley assassination (news coverage: criticism); St. Louis Republic; Leon Czolgosz (incarceration: Buffalo, NY: personal response); anarchism (laws against).|
|Leon Czolgosz; William McKinley.|
The Assassination of President McKinley
As we are about to go press [sic] the message
is flashed across the wires from Buffalo that the life of President McKinley
is at an end. We are sincerely sorry. Life is a sacred thing and he who deprives
a fellowman of his life injures all society. The Socialist is opposed to murder
in any form, even under the guise of war, and his sympathies go out to all who
suffer bereavement in this manner.
Anarchy has no greater opponent than Socialism. The police may spread their nets over the face of the earth, they may resort to the most cruel and despotic methods to wipe out all trace of the sect that believes in assassination, but anarchy will not disappear until the rising sun of Socialism dispels the darkness in which anarchy thrives.
It is unfortunate that there are many untutored minds in which the impression still remains that there is a connection between Socialism and anarchy. This impression cannot be effaced in a moment, but time will tell, and as the Socialist party proves its principles by its works this foolish idea will be eradicated. Already the capitalist press is forced to take notice of the distion [sic], and the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, in a lengthy editorial, explains that “Socialism and anarchy are as far apart as the poles.”
We do not feel called upon to join in the clamor begun by the capitalist press for revenge. The Socialist is not bloodthirsty, and cannot endorse the utterances that fill the columns of the daily papers crying for the blood of the assassin. The law is there to punish the criminal. That is sufficient. The St. Louis Republic, referring to the anarchists, says:
“From them the fundamental law of this free land, which forbids cruel and unusual punishments, should be suspended, and the MOST CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENT that human ingenuity can devise should be relentlessly applied to deter the devils from the pursuit of their inhuman lust for blood.”
This is worse than barbarism. It is almost inconceivable that a paper read by many thousand enlightened people should dare in this day and age to make such an inhuman suggestion. It is not surprising that in a society where such utterances are allowed to pass there also be men of the type of Czolgosz the anarchist.
From Buffalo comes rumors, evidently not without foundation, that the prisoner is being brutally tortured in the hope of forcing a confession of a plot. The details as published are horrifying. That such a thing should be permitted is a disgrace to America and the Socialist would not be true to his principles if he did not protest against it with all his might. If Czolgosz can be tortured then anyone can be tortured at the will of some cruel police chief.
Again we say we have no sympathy for the assassin. He should be punished like all murderers, according to law. But there are incidents in connection with this sad affair which must not be overlooked by Socialists, who are ever watchful of the interests of the working class. The blood thirsty [sic] daily press is attempting to lash the public mind into a fury for a purpose. It is desired to secure the enactment of legislation, ostensibly, against anarchists. But those laws, when once enacted, will not touch the anarchist. They will not wipe out anarchy. But they will be so framed as to apply in times of labor trouble to labor organizations. Let the trade unionists be wary of hastily drawn resolutions on the assassinationfor [sic] they may soon find that their own words will be used to secure the enactment of laws to oppress them instead of the anarchists. There are conspiracies on foot that are far greater and more dangerous to the laboring class than even the alleged conspiracies of anarchist groups.