Publication information
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Source: Statist
Source type: newspaper
Document type: editorial
Document title: “President McKinley”
Author(s): anonymous
City of publication: London, England
Date of publication: 21 September 1901
Volume number: 48
Issue number: 1230
Pagination: 515

“President McKinley.” Statist 21 Sept. 1901 v48n1230: p. 515.
full text
William McKinley (political character); United States (trade policy: reciprocity).
Named persons
Otto von Bismarck; Napoléon Bonaparte; Grover Cleveland; William McKinley.


President McKinley

THE outburst of sorrow and sympathy called forth by the death of President McKinley, with which though somewhat late, we wish to associate ourselves, bears eloquent testimony to the high estimation throughout the world to which he had risen during the four and a half short years of his tenure of office. The outburst is not due to mere international courtesy. It is an honest as well as universal tribute to the memory of a great and a good man. For it may safely be predicted, even at this early date, that history will accord a high place to the late President. He possessed some of the most valuable qualities for the constitutional ruler of a free people. He was exceedingly quick in discerning the current of popular opinion and of accommodating his own course to it. The most signal illustration of this was given in the great speech delivered by him the very day before the atrocious attack was made upon his life. Almost from his first entry into public life he had been known as a staunch Protectionist. Yet during his tenure of office he came to recognise that Protectionism had lost its hold upon the American people, and he quickly acknowledged that it was his duty as a constitutional ruler to meet the wishes of the people half-way. Not less remarkable was his policy during and immediately after the dispute with Spain. Careful observers had begun to see for some time that the United States could not very much longer preserve the old attitude of exclusiveness and abstention from interference with other nations. But no President before his time had ventured to depart from what had become the settled traditional practice of the country. Even President Cleveland, ready as he was on so many occasions to adopt a policy of his own, yet refused to intervene in Cuba. It was different, however, with President McKinley. He knew, of course, that what he was about to do would call forth a storm of opposition. But he felt at the same time that the majority of the people had made up their minds that the misgovernment of Cuba must come to an end. And he made himself the agent of the popular will. He did not hesitate even from annexing most of the transmarine possessions of Spain. Moreover, he truly interpreted the wishes of the people in attempting to avoid the absorption of the new territories into the Union. Another quality which eminently fitted President McKinley for the high office he held, and which will insure him a distinguished place amongst American Presidents, was his knowledge of character. Hardly one of his appointments has been a failure. In almost every case they have been remarkable successes. Granting all that may be said of the unpreparedness of Spain and of the criminal neglect of her Government to furnish her army and her navy with the equipment they required, yet her defeat was wonderfully quick, and it was due in no small measure to the excellent appointments of the President. In the selection of his Cabinet, again, he showed remarkable knowledge of mankind. And his success as the First Magistrate of the Republic was owing greatly to the judgment displayed therein. He had nothing of the Napoleon or the Bismarck in him, happily both for himself and for the people whose elected chief he was. For in the constitutional ruler of a free people the qualities that mainly distinguished these two eminent men would have been altogether out of place. In all his instincts and habits of mind he was an American to the heart’s core, with that happy combination of useful qualities which has enabled most of the American Presidents to rise to the height of their great responsibilities.



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