Source: Norfolk Landmark
Source type: newspaper
Document type: editorial
Document title: “The Death of President McKinley”
City of publication: Norfolk, Virginia
Date of publication: 14 September 1901
Volume number: 53
Issue number: 16
|“The Death of President McKinley.” Norfolk Landmark 14 Sept. 1901 v53n16: p. 4.|
|William McKinley (death: personal response); William McKinley (political character).|
|Russell Alexander Alger; Leon Czolgosz; William McKinley.|
The Death of President McKinley
Mr. McKinley is dead! The tragedy which deprives
the country of one of the most popular of Presidents was rendered the more terrible
by the fact that the doctors and the public confidently expected his recovery
until the startling relapse of Thursday. So successful was the difficult operation
performed by the surgeons immediately after the shooting, so quick and satisfactory
was the patient’s rally from the exhaustion incidental thereto, so certain did
the attendant physicians seem of the future favorable progress of the case,
that the people had thrown off the first feeling of despair and had exchanged
it for one of rejoicing. The sad and sudden turn for the worse subjected the
country to a second shock no less prostrating than the first. Never have the
people been more profoundly affected; never have they had their hopes more grievously
The late President, though an aggressive and astute politician, was popular throughout his long and distinguished career. He had the faculty of binding men to him as with hooks of steel. His most strenuous political opponents had the kindliest personal feeling for him and on innumerable occasions gave public expression to it. Those who had been intimately associated with him could not say enough in his praise. An affecting demonstration of this fact was the collapse of former Secretary of War Alger when informed of the shooting. Alger’s term in Mr. McKinley’s Cabinet could not have been pleasant to the Secretary, who was constantly under the fiercest kind of fire because of his inability to manage the affairs of the War Department in a manner satisfactory to the public. The culmination of Gen. Alger’s unpopularity was denoted by his resignation and Mr. McKinley’s acceptance of it. But when Alger heard of the villainous deed which laid the President low, the ex-Secretary broke down and cried like a child.
Mr. McKinley bore himself with beautiful dignity and simplicity in his high office. His various trips through the country were signalized by ovations at every town or city at which he stopped. One of the most noteworthy characteristics of the dead President was his unflagging discouragement of sectionalism. He was the Chief Executive of the whole country, not of a part of it merely; and he was doubly honored by his fellow-citizens because of their realization of this fact. Always approachable, always affable, always serene, always considerate of those around him, he won himself a warm place in the hearts of his countrymen. His private life was admirable. A touching tribute paid to his virtues by his invalid wife during their visit to New Orleans has been repeatedly recalled during the days which have elapsed since the deadly bullet of Czolgosz found its mark. This faithful wife has been the object of almost as much concern as the President himself. Everybody has felt for her. Everybody has feared the effect of this calamity upon her frail constitution.
This is no time to speak of politics. Always while this republic retains its vigor its politics will be strenous [sic], and political leaders, however great their private virtues and however meritorious their public intentions, will be the objects of attack on the platform and in the press. In these cases, men are classed with the policies they advocate. It has ever been so in this free country. It has never been more notably so than in the days of the mighty statemen [sic] of our national infancy. Those great men did not spare each other in political debate, though they often had sincere personal esteem for each other. But with the advent of great crises or calamities which do not properly involve questions of party politics, the American people set party politics aside. Their ability to do this is a proof that their heart is sound. They laid aside politics the moment the news of the crime at Buffalo was flashed over the wires. There are situations which overshadow all politics; and this is one of them.
Our whole country is plunged in sorrow. It loved the President and will not soon recover from the shock of the villainous murder which took him out of the world. From this time forth let the fiends who are responsible for that crime beware the fury of an outraged nation!